Video released in patient death investigation

November 19, 2008 10:54:53 AM PST
A patient is left to die inside a troubled North Carolina mental hospital.Surveillance video was released on Tuesday, Nov. 18 that has sparked a federal investigation.

The video begins with 50-year-old mental patient Steven Sabock walking into an interview room at Cherry Hospital to get medication.

Two minutes later, he falls and hits his head on the floor. But two hours later, after Sabock was checked out by a physician's assistant, he walks into another part of a hospital.

There a staff member, identified by the state as Lucreatia Houston, takes his blood pressure and sits him in a chair as other staffers and patients play cards.

Eight minutes later, the video shows Sabock sitting up in the chair and looking around for a while, before Houston returns with something for him to drink.

According to a log written by state investigators, she appears more focused on the card game. Then about ten minutes later, Houston returns, speaks briefly to Sabock and joins the card game.

Half an hour later, the card games ends, staffers walk away, the lights go out and Sabock is left alone. Some staffers sporadically check on Sabock throughout the night, but never move him.

The next morning staffers can be seen changing his shirt.

Throughout the day, staffers try to arouse Sabock who appears to be sleeping or losing consciousness. A little before 7 p.m., Sabock tries to cross his legs, but his leg falls.

Finally around 9 p.m., two staffers try to get Sabock to stand, when he can't they put him in a chair and drag him to the bedroom area.

Minutes later doctors and nurses with a crash cart rush to Sabock. Just before 9:30 p.m., Sabock is wheeled away on a stretcher.

He died that evening on April 29 at the hospital.


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