Around 4:40 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29, a caller to 911 requested the presence of a deputy at Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital in Vancouver, according to a release from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO). The release said the 911 caller reported that her mother, who had been admitted the day before for medical reasons, was being held against her will at the hospital. The caller said she had medical power of attorney over her mother and was not being allowed to see her.
According to the release, the patient had refused to submit to a COVID-19 test upon admittance to the hospital and had been placed in a 24-hour quarantine for protection while receiving medical treatment. According to hospital personnel, the daughter had refused to wear a mask upon entering the hospital and was refused access to see her mother in quarantine.
When a deputy from the sheriff’s office arrived, he spoke with the patient, who he determined via basic questioning was able to make her own decisions and that she had stated to the deputy that she wished to remain in the hospital to receive treatment. Meanwhile, an estimated 15 to 20 people began arriving at the hospital's emergency department at the apparent request of the patient's daughter, demanding the release of the patient. A friend of the daughter had streamed a request online for "all hands on deck" to come to the hospital to demand the release of the patient.
Due to the large number of people congregating at the entrance to the hospital’s emergency department, Legacy security personnel requested additional CCSO units to respond to the situation. Deputies were advised that the hospital was going to go into lockdown as the crowd was shouting and demanding the release of the patient. The people congregated in and outside the sheltered area just outside the entrance to the emergency department.
According to the release, the main focus of the presence of law enforcement was to prevent a rush of people entering the hospital and to ensure the safety of the patients and staff at the hospital.
The release said that as people began to arrive at the request of the daughter's friend, deputies noted that several were carrying firearms and gas masks. Additional units were called to the scene in order to protect the other entrances to the hospital. In total, 22 deputies responded.
At 7:55 p.m., a sergeant notified dispatch that the patient had requested to leave the hospital and that preparations were being made to discharge the patient.
According to the release, at one point during the confrontation, a number of people affiliated with the daughter attempted to force their way into the hospital when the doors were opened to admit an unrelated person needing medical treatment. These people were physically pushed back by deputies. One unidentified male who tried again to force the doors open and assault a deputy during the attempt to enter the hospital was advised to leave or he would be sprayed with pepper spray. The male refused and was sprayed in the face by the deputy; however, no arrests were made.
At around 8:40 p.m. the patient was released from the hospital and transported home by family. The crowd dispersed a short time thereafter.
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