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Fayetteville hospital settles mother's wrongful death lawsuit

Losing a loved one is certainly a painful and devastating experience for any Fayetteville family. But what if you found out that the death of your loved one could have been prevented? How would you feel waking up each morning knowing that your son, daughter, wife, husband, mother, father or sibling would still be alive had someone else made appropriate choices that would have prevented your loved one from sustaining fatal injuries after an accident, a medical mistake or an assault on one's property?

After her son's wrongful death in April 2011, one mother finally received some justice earlier this month. According to reports, the Fayetteville hospital where her son died agreed to settle the woman's wrongful death lawsuit. Although the settlement, which remains confidential, is certainly a victory for the woman, she is still hoping that criminal charges will be filed against the individuals she believes were partly responsible for killing her son.

Last year, the mother called for an ambulance to take her 27-year-old son to the hospital because she noticed that he had been acting strange. Her son suffered from schizophrenia and she was worried that he had stopped taking his medication. But while her son was waiting to be transferred from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center to a mental hospital, the woman learned that he son had stopped breathing and that he could not be resuscitated.

However, after an autopsy had been performed, the state Medical Examiner's Office reported that the man had died of asphyxiation.

The death was investigated and it was discovered that while the patient was waiting to be transferred to a mental hospital, several guards had to restrain the patient because he was becoming more "agitated and aggressive" as time passed. A surveillance video showed that the patient had been put in a chokehold and was wrestled to the floor.

After a few minutes of struggling, the video showed that the man became nonresponsive. More than a minute had passed before the man was finally placed on a stretcher and his vital signs were checked. Staff then attempted to resuscitate the man, but it was already too late.

Source: fayobserver.com, "Cape Fear Valley Medical Center settles lawsuit over death of mentally ill patient," May 3, 2012

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