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Crowd hostile over care given man who died prompts Mount Vernon hospital to lock down

MOUNT VERNON - The Skagit Valley Hospital was put on lock down Tuesday night after a man died there and approximately 100 of his family members and friends came to the emergency room to see him.

"They were upset with the medical community," said Skagit County Sheriff's Office Detective Kay Walker. "They weren't happy with his care."

Maurice Rivas, 30, of Burlington had been ill with chronic abdominal pain and vomiting prior to his death Wednesday night at the hospital, said Skagit County Coroner Daniel Dempsey.

Rivas had been receiving medical care recently for the problem, the coroner said. It was not clear where he was receiving that care.

Rivas collapsed at a Burlington home at about 8:20 p.m. and was taken to the Skagit Valley Hospital by ambulance. He died at 9:15 p.m., Dempsey said.

Family members who were "a bit hostile" came to the emergency room.

Because of the volume of people, the hospital called a lock down from about 10 p.m. to 1 p.m., allowing people in and out of the hospital, but with heightened security, said the hospital's spokeswoman Kari Ranten.

The Sheriff's Office, Mount Vernon police officers and the State Patrol troopers assisted in the lock down. No one was violent and there were no arrests.

The coroner is continuing to investigate the death. He is overseeing an autopsy this afternoon.

Rivas' cause of death has not been determined.

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