Local News

Wilson hospital's Medicare certification in danger after fight

Posted March 8, 2010 6:45 p.m. EST
Updated March 8, 2010 7:12 p.m. EST

— A fight in the emergency room waiting room could cost Wilson Medical Center its Medicare certification.

The state Division of Health Services is evaluating the hospital’s operations after the Feb. 18 fight.

Police said Cedric Newton, 32, of Wilson, is accused of assaulting two hospital workers and a couple waiting for treatment. Police said Newton hit Catherine Murphy in the head. As hospital staff responded, the suspect tried to hit Murphy again, but her husband, Bobby, stepped in and a fight ensued.

When police arrived, Bobby Murphy had a broken ankle and needed stitches in his lip.

Hospital spokeswoman Melinda Laird said Monday that Newton is a mental patient and has since been transferred to Cherry Hospital. Charges are pending.

“This was not an event that we're used to seeing in our emergency room. We feel like we do have a very safe and secure emergency room,” Laird said Monday.

Since the fight, Laird said, the hospital has made immediate changes in response, including having  a security guard in the emergency room at all times.

Wilson Medical has until March 27 to provide the state with a detailed plan of action in response or they could lose their Medicare certification.

“We do not plan on losing our Medicare funding. We will do everything that we can. We have already done a great deal to ensure that the state sees that we have taken action,” Laird said.

More than half of this hospital's patients pay through Medicare, she said.

Laird said patients shouldn’t worry about their safety or the hospital’s Medicare certification.

“This is an incident that we take very seriously here and we've made every effort to make sure it is corrected,” she said.