Local News

Cherry Hospital workers accused of beating patient

Posted August 23, 2008 4:09 p.m. EDT
Updated August 27, 2008 6:29 p.m. EDT

— Two workers at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro have been arrested on accusations they beat a patient, state Department of Health and Human Services chief spokesman Tom Lawrence said.

Health-care technicians Taniko Dominique Upton, 33, and William Kenneth Johnson, 52, were charged Friday with simple assault on a handicapped person, which is a misdemeanor.

Upton and Johnson were taken to the Wayne County Jail and released after posting $5,000 bonds.

Investigators said the assault occurred 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 was closed Friday but Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dempsey Benton said none of the 16 staff members who were supposed to care for Sabock have been fired. One nurse did resign, however.

Benton did say that the discipline was "insufficient" and asked the hospital's director to re-evaluate the disciplinary action.