In November, a North Carolina hospital was accused of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit and a wrongful death lawsuit. The wrongful death lawsuit, which recently settled, was filed against Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville by the mother of a mentally ill man who died after being put in a chokehold by security guards.
According to reports, the 28-year-old mentally ill man visited the hospital's emergency room on April 17, 2011 for a psychiatric evaluation. When the man became agitated and tried to leave the ER, he was restrained by at least four security personnel, one of whom used a chokehold.
The mother of the mentally ill man reached an out of court settlement with the hospital late last month, but no details have been released.
In the other lawsuit, a 28-year-old woman said she was mistreated when she went to the same ER on in October 2011. The woman, who had severe abdominal pain and nausea, said she was denied pain medication after waiting for more than two hours. Frustrated, the woman said she swore at the hospital staff, who then ordered her to be forcibly removed.
The woman said she was waiting outside wrapped in a blanket given to her by another employee when a security guard chased her down and yanked the blanket away. Eventually, the woman was admitted to the hospital, where she stayed for a week getting treatment for polycystic kidney disease.
The woman filed a lawsuit against the hospital seeking at least $20,000 in damages. The current status of that lawsuit is unknown.
Following the lawsuits, the hospital was put in "immediate jeopardy" of losing reimbursements for Medicare or Medicaid patients. The hospital, which has one of the busiest ERs in North Carolina, claims it made policy changes and will continue to evaluate how to better serve its patients.
Source: WRAL, "Fayetteville hospital settles wrongful death claim," May 3, 2012, WRAL, "Lawsuits, regulators question ER care at Fayetteville hospital," Nov. 14, 2012