Abuse alleged at hospital

February 23, 2009 3:36:06 PM PST
State officials say they're investigating an allegation of abuse at the Central Hospital in Butner.It's the latest in a string of incidents at state mental facilities.

Officials at the State Department of Health and Human Services told Eyewitness News they're aware that warrants have been taken out against Hilbert Reddick and said he has been suspended with pay while they investigate.

The allegations come from Tamara Watson. She said she checked her 8-year-old son into the hospital on a doctor's advice because he was having some emotional issues.

"I sent my son in there to be evaluated for one problem and he came out with two or three more," she offered.

She said she became concerned when she visited the boy several days after she left him at the facility.

"I went up just to hug him and he screamed in pain when I grabbed him. I said 'What's wrong?' He said 'My arm is hurting.' And then he proceeded to tell me one of the staff members had grabbed and twisted his arm," said Watson.

Watson said she filed a report about the allegations. The DHHS told Eyewitness News the allegations were investigated by an advocacy group and a federal agency and were not substantiated.

But Watson said less than a week later, her son was attacked again by the same employee - and this time he was punched and kicked.

"My son stated that while he was hitting him, he told him 'If you tell your mother about this I will pay her a visit because I stay close by you guys.' And he also told my son that during the assault that 'This is one butt whooping that I don't mind going to anger management for,'" Watson charged.

Reddick does live close to Watson's Durham home. He did not answer the door or return a message left on his home phone. He is apparently aware of the allegations but has not yet been served with the warrants Watson says she took out on Friday.

She says she did so after hospital officials and Butner police dismissed her concerns.


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