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Patient dies in isolation room at psychiatric hospital

Posted July 24, 2009

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— Police opened an investigation after a 23-year-old patient died at a psychiatric hospital in Rocky Mount Thursday.

James R. Collins had apparently been dead for about six hours when staff found him inside an isolation room at Coastal Plains Hospital around 2:40 p.m., police said. The hospital notified police.

Preliminary results from an autopsy done by the county medical examiner indicate no apparent signs of foul play, police said Friday.

The cause of death won't be known until toxicology tests are completed, which could take several weeks, police said.

Coastal Plains Hospital is a 50-bed in-patient hospital offering treatment for emotional, behavioral and substance-abuse problems, according to its Web site. The facility is run by Nash Health Care Systems.

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  • Shaking My Head In Amusement Jul 24, 2009

    Okay - it could not have been between 1am and 7am since he was found in the afternoon - but my point about sleep remains. People would be crying foul if they thought he was asleep and they kept awakening him to see if he were okay.--whosonfirst

    You can tell when someone is dead. You don't have to try to awaken them, you can tell from a distance. No blood flow in the body/to the skin leaves it a different color. Doesn't matter the color of the person... you can tell. So there was NO excuse for not finding this man for 6 hours.

  • teacher-mom Jul 24, 2009

    This is such a tragedy. My sympathy to his family and loved ones. People with mental health issues and substance abuse problems need much more help than they are given. This should not happen to anyone.

  • readerman Jul 24, 2009

    "Absolutely, readerman, and I think you're the one to hire and pay extra staff to make this happen!"

    It is not extra staff. Federal and state law require appropriate observation of isolation cases. No one should die in custody because you are too cheap. If it was you in isolation you might sing another tune!

    "Who said he was unobserved. Perhaps they thought he was asleep." The standards for observation require staff to see movement. If he was dead, he wasn't moving so the staff didn't obseve him as required.

  • whosonfirst Jul 24, 2009

    Okay - it could not have been between 1am and 7am since he was found in the afternoon - but my point about sleep remains. People would be crying foul if they thought he was asleep and they kept awakening him to see if he were okay.

  • whosonfirst Jul 24, 2009

    Who said he was unobserved. Perhaps they thought he was asleep. Perhaps the 6 hours was from 1am to 7am. Think before you type people.

    By the way, for those who say they should have tried to awaken him, you would be the first to say his rights to uninterrupted sleep were infringed upon by awakening him.

    I am sorry for the loss of life and feel for his family, but we can't start blaming someone for wrongdoing based on what is in the story.

  • ECU4lyf Jul 24, 2009

    NCStatePack....tis tragic but true, no good news ever comes out of Rocky Mount....Rocky Mount "The City with a Crime Rate on the Rise"

  • angora2 Jul 24, 2009

    Absolutely, readerman, and I think you're the one to hire and pay extra staff to make this happen!

  • mramorak Jul 24, 2009

    omg

  • NCStatePack Jul 24, 2009

    Does any good news ever come from Rocky Mount?

  • lisa4 Jul 24, 2009

    My deepest sympathy goes out to this young man's family. You would think the patient's in this facility would be checked on frequently, but it says he had been dead for about 6 hours!!!!!!!! I do not understand that. God bless his family.

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