Suicide investigation at NC psych hospital finds staff failed to properly monitor patients

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services investigated Butner-based Central Regional Hospital after a patient committed suicide in March and found employees were not following the psychiatric hospital's patient monitoring protocols, reports The Charlotte Observer.

Here are six things to know about the investigation.

1. Harold Jason Campbell, a patient at the psychiatric hospital, committed suicide March 28 by hanging himself from his bathroom door with his belt.

2. While hospital policy required staff members to check on Mr. Campbell every 30 minutes, the investigation found periods of more than one hour in which no one checked on him the day of his death.

3. During clinician rounds, two nurses and a therapeutic staff support member walked by Mr. Campbell's door and looked in, without actually entering the room, which hospital policy requires.

4. DHHS's investigation also found hospital employees falsified patient monitoring records. The documents "included entries by staff that checks were conducted when the video surveillance confirmed otherwise," DHHS spokesman Cobey Culton told The Charlotte Observer via email.

5. Following Mr. Campbell's death, Central Regional Hospital removed all bathroom doors from patient's private rooms, instructed physicians to evaluate patients for suicide risk and warned nurses that taking notes about patient care before a patient encounter — or when one never occurs — is falsifying a document, according to the report. The hospital is also conducting ongoing training on patient monitoring.

"It's not a once and you're done," Mr. Benton told The Charlotte Observer. "We take patient safety incredibly seriously."

6. Central Regional Hospital took internal actions against two employees, although they were not demoted, suspended or dismissed, according to DHHS. A nurse also resigned during the hospital's internal investigation.

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