Local News

N.C. to hire firm to evaluate mental hospital

Posted August 28, 2008 2:03 p.m. EDT
Updated August 28, 2008 2:56 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina's top health official has ordered an independent review of a Goldsboro mental hospital where an unattended patient died after choking on medication.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dempsey Benton said Thursday that the Division of Mental Health must find an independent hospital management firm to evaluate Cherry Hospital.

Benton also said he wanted more security personnel assigned to the hospital.

Steven Sabock, 50, died in April 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 now closed, but none of the 16 staff members who were supposed to care for Sabock have been fired. One nurse did resign.

The hospital also is being investigated by the federal government, which has threatened to withdraw insurance reimbursements.

Four employees have been fired in the wake of accusations related to a patient beating.