Patient found dead in her room at Oregon State Hospital

From the Oregonian, December 28, 2010

An Oregon State Hospital patient was found dead in her room Monday night from apparent suicide, officials said Tuesday.

Citing privacy laws, officials declined to name the patient. A fellow patient at the hospital, Chris Crawford told The Oregonian her name was Elisabeth Sellars and Sellars’ attorney, Harris Matarazzo, confirmed his client’s death.

Sellars was living in a medium-security, co-ed ward and was in the hospital’s forensic psychiatric program, according to Rebeka Gipson-King, a spokeswoman for the hospital. Patients in the forensic program have been found guilty of a crime.

State police are investigating the woman’s death, as is the normal procedure, Gipson-King said.

Additionally, the hospital “will conduct a full review to ensure all hospital policies and procedures were followed surrounding the incident,” Superintendent Greg Roberts said in a statement. “I will keep the board apprised as more information becomes available.”

Roberts said that Sellars’ family had been informed and that patients and staff would receive any necessary counseling.

Sellars, whose family could not be reached for comment, was found dead at 9:28 p.m. while staff were doing routine checks. Gipson-King said confidentiality prohibited her from giving a time of death.

The Oregon State Hospital came under scrutiny last year after a patient, Moises Perez, 42, was found dead in his hospital bed. His death went unnoticed for many hours.

An investigation found that staff had neglected Perez. As a result of the findings, five employees were issued letters of reprimand. Then-superintendent Roy Orr resigned the same day the investigation’s findings were released.