Local News

Four Cherry Hospital workers fired

Posted August 27, 2008

— Four Cherry Hospital employees have been fired in the wake of accusations related to a patient beating, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesman said Wednesday.

Taniko Dominique Upton, 33, and William Kenneth Johnson, 52, health-care technicians at the Goldsboro mental health facility, were charged Friday with simple assault on a handicapped person after accusations surfaced they beat a patient.

A full-time nurse and a part-time nurse involved in the same incident were also fired.

The firings come as federal regulators perform a top-down review of the psychiatric hospital's operations. Cherry Hospital is in jeopardy of losing its federal funding following numerous complaints of patient abuse and neglect.

The alleged assault occurred last Monday, the same day federal investigators released a report citing the hospital for patient neglect.

Steven Sabock, 50, died April 29 after being ignored for more than 22 hours while staff members played cards and watched TV in the same room.

The ward where Sabock died is closed, but none of the 16 staff members who were supposed to care for Sabock have been fired. One nurse did resign, however.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dempsey Benton said the discipline was "insufficient" and has asked the hospital's director to re-evaluate the disciplinary action.


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  • TheAdmiral Aug 28, 2008

    The funny thing is that I am sure someone will scream about the firings as being a racial issue.

    Grow up. Do wrong - your fired.

  • ccs1920 Aug 28, 2008

    WRAL/ Why arn't the two fired nurses identified?

  • hdonthefarm Aug 28, 2008

    Cherry Hospital Directer Jack St Clair tried to cover up the death. WHY IS HE STILL THERE? Answer that, Dempsey Benton.

  • JustAnotherRedneck Aug 28, 2008

    It does not do one bit of good to fire the flunkies if you are not going to fire the supervisors too. It is obvious they were not doing their jobs either and therefore are JUST as guilty as the flunkies that got fired!

    I think the whole state mental health system needs to be revamped. It is just too easy for an uneducated, untrained individual to get a job at a state mental health facility and most of the staff are just as bad off as the patients.

    It is kinda like putting the monkeys in charge of the zoo.

  • pebbles262004 Aug 28, 2008

    It's a sad time in our world when you can't put a person in the hospital and not have to worry that they'll be mistreeted.

  • garnertoy Aug 28, 2008

    what a shame

  • ccs1920 Aug 27, 2008

    airbornemonty/ You read correctly. The State of NC, and the majority of nursing homes, will hire nearly anyone that applies. Go to any of these places and you will see that I am correct.

  • nealsgirl Aug 27, 2008

    How can the DHHS keep the RN's and the Supervisor from the same firing? They had to have known something was wrong, and why did they not check on these patients in over 22 hours? There is supposed to be a nurses note written on these patient every shift? Right? Someone had to give meds? Smells high to me! God Bless the family's of those patients.

  • cool_rocker999 Aug 27, 2008

    No doubt, probably happens all the time. What a tragedy.

  • Raleigh Aug 27, 2008

    F-I-R-E-D? They should have been admitted into Cherry along with the other workers who cared for the dead patient, and then let Karma and a few volunteers care for them for a few days. I'm sure they would get the care they deserved!