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Another Psychiatric Patient Dies in a Hospital Due to Staff Neglect

Six weeks ago, we reported on how Kings County Hospital let a patient die while staffers stood and watched. The patient had psychiatric concerns. We have no idea what happened to the humanity of those staffers (who are hopefully long since gone from the hospital and are having trouble finding gainful employment at a new hospital). We also thought such tragedies would be a wakeup call to all hospitals to re-evaluate their procedures and ensure patient care and monitoring is a top priority.

Sadly, I guess the news didn’t make it down to North Carolina:

A mental patient died after workers at a North Carolina hospital left him in a chair for 22 hours without feeding him or helping him use the bathroom, said federal officials who have threatened to cut off the facility’s funding. […]

An investigator’s report released Monday found that 50-year-old Steven Sabock died in April after he at one point choked on medication and had been left sitting in a chair for close to a day at the facility about 50 miles southeast of Raleigh. Surveillance video showed hospital staff watching television and playing cards just a few feet away.

A state spokesperson said the incident was “isolated,” but how do they really know how isolated such occurrences are (especially those that result not in death, but in near misses and go unreported)? It’s also little consolation to the human being whose life was lost due to the state’s willful neglect of this patient in their care.

Two incidents in 6 weeks in the country is not a good sign, considering both resulted in people’s deaths. Many will just wave away these deaths since they occurred to people with mental illness. But a human being’s life is not the sum of their illness.

To dismiss such neglect is to dismiss the dignity and sanctity of human life itself.

And if I were you, you should stay away from hospitals like Kings County and Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, NC. In my opinion, these hospitals — and any that treats patients like so much chattel — should be closed down or severely punished for their reprehensible behavior.

Read the full Associated Press story: NC man dies after waiting 22 hours at hospital

Another Psychiatric Patient Dies in a Hospital Due to Staff Neglect

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Another Psychiatric Patient Dies in a Hospital Due to Staff Neglect. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from
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Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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