National Guard Member Investigated Over Patient Interactions While Deployed at Oregon State Hospital

Oregon State Hospital 10.20.21 Ben Botkin .jpg

Large red building, the Oregon State Hospital

An earlier version of this article relied on erroneous information provided by a state spokesperson. It has been corrected to reflect further reporting. To read more, go here.

 An Oregon National Guard member is under investigation over their interactions with a patient while deployed at Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday confirmed the incident at the state-run psychiatric residential facility to The Lund Report. The guard member is no longer deployed at the hospital, authority spokesperson Aria Seligmann said in an email. 

The authority and the Oregon National Guard did not provide any more details about the incident or the severity of the altercation.

Seligmann was unable to answer questions about when the incident took place or whether the matter will lead to any changes in policies or practices for guard members deployed to the hospital. 

Stephen Bomar, public affairs director for the Oregon Military Department, said the guard member was “removed from duty last month for allegations of inappropriate conduct unbecoming of a professional work environment.”

“The Guard member was reprimanded and removed from duty with potential military discipline pending further investigation,” Bomar said in an email.

Bomar said the matter constitutes the only disciplinary-related incident involving the removal of an Oregon Guard member from the hospital. The person was released, Bomar said, adding that guard members assigned to the state hospital are considered temporary state employees.

About 30 guard members remain on assignment at the state hospital and the deployment has an anticipated end date of June 30, Bomar said.

The state hospital has relied on Oregon National Guard members to fill support roles during the pandemic, as the facility has struggled to fill positions.

You can reach Ben Botkin at [email protected] or via Twitter @BenBotkin1.

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