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North Carolina Patient Dies from Medical Negligence

Steven H. Sabock, 50, of Roanoke Rapids was a patient at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina in April 2008, being treated for bipolar disorder. Security camera footage showed that when he choked on medication, the hospital staff who were present saw Sabock failing but left him untended in a chair as they played cards. Sabock hit his head and died. 

False Report by Nursing Director

The hospital's nursing director then made a report saying that staff checked Sabock's vital signs before his death; the video footage showed that they did not do so. Thirteen of the psychiatric hospital's employees were disciplined based on this shocking lapse in medical care: 

 Three employees were fired
 One worker received a five-day suspension
 Four others received three-day suspensions
 Five received written warnings 

Withdrawal of Medicare/Medicaid Funding Due to Conditions

About a month after Sabock's death, federal regulators stopped Cherry Hospital's Medicaid and Medicare funding — approximately $800,000 — because the facility's conditions were considered dangerous for its patients. 

Criminal Investigation

In August, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation initiated a criminal investigation. A team from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) examined the conditions at Cherry Hospital; they found that there have been: 

  • Assaults on patients
  • Problems with abuse reporting
  • A culture that pressures employees to stay silent when they observe problems. 

The DHHS team leader, James Osberg, said that the security cameras at Cherry Hospital are now being used to monitor all patient treatment as it occurs. 

Patient's Widow Left Wondering Why Hospital Is Open

Widow Susan Sabock watched just a few minutes of the video of her husband as he sat unattended. She commented, "It's like we're in a bad dream and we just can't get up. How is this hospital still open? I just don't understand." 

(Source: United Press International) 

If your loved one has been mistreated in a healthcare setting, contact us to speak with a medical malpractice attorney and discuss your concerns.


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