Earlier this year, a Fayetteville mother learned that her son had died just hours after sending him to a local hospital in an ambulance. She was told that her 27-year-old son could not be resuscitated after he had stopped breathing at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Now the woman is suing the hospital and several security guards for negligence, claiming that more could have been done to resuscitate her son.
The lawsuit was filed last month in Cumberland County Superior Court after the state Medical Examiner's Office reported the suspicious circumstances of the man's death to police. Police are investigating whether or not the man's death was a direct result of negligence.
According to the lawsuit, the Fayetteville woman had called for an ambulance on April 17. She reported that her son suffered from schizophrenia and she was worried because he had been acting strange. The man was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center shortly after 5 p.m. When he arrived at the hospital, staff reported that the man was "agitated, nervous and paranoid."
The man was seen by a doctor at the hospital who decided that he needed to be transferred to a mental hospital. While waiting to be transferred, the lawsuit claims that the man became increasingly agitated. After attempting to leave the hospital, the man was restrained by security guards. Video surveillance of the incident shows that one of the guards put the patient in a choke hold while three other guards held his body down.
The patient became unresponsive just minutes after the struggle with security guards. Medical records indicated that hospital staff attempted to resuscitate the man shortly after 9:23 p.m., but the lawsuit claims that the attempt was not made soon enough.
Losing anyone is a painful experience, but it is especially tragic when family members understand that the death of a loved one could have been prevented. Unfortunately, family members who desire to seek justice for the wrongful death of another may encounter many challenges when trying to prove that one's death was the result of someone else's negligence. In this situation, Fayetteville families may benefit greatly from working with an attorney in order to ensure that the correct party is held responsible for the death of their loved one.
Source: Fayetteville Observer, "Fayetteville mother suing Cape Fear Valley Medical Center over son's death," Jennifer Calhoun, Oct. 29, 2011