RALEIGH, N.C. – A mental patient died after workers at a North Carolina hospital left him in a chair for 22 hours without feeding him or helping him use the bathroom, said federal officials who have threatened to cut off the facility’s funding.
The state sent a team Tuesday to help Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro draft new procedures to ensure patients receive proper care.
An investigator’s report released Monday found that 50-year-old Steven Sabock died in April after he at one point choked on medication and had been left sitting in a chair for close to a day at the facility about 50 miles southeast of Raleigh. Surveillance video showed hospital staff watching television and playing cards just a few feet away.
It was not clear from the report exactly how Sabock died. The report states that he was in a hospital bed and later found unresponsive.
Federal officials have threatened to cut off funding because of Sabock’s death and a report that a physician punched a patient after the teen bit the doctor.
Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Tom Lawrence said the state team also may investigate what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken following Sabock’s death.
The investigation released Monday said Sabock died in April after Cherry Hospital nurses left him unattended in a chair and did not feed him or help him to the bathroom.
The report said Sabock sat unattended in the room for four work shifts. The report also found that Sabock, formerly of Roanoke Rapids, ate nothing the day he died and had little food in the three days preceding his death. The 47-page report also said workers were supposed to be closely monitoring Sabock’s condition and may have forged documents that said they had.
The state has until Saturday to file a report with the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services detailing what changes officials are making, Lawrence said.