December 2007

North Carolina Workers at Butner Mental Hospital Accused of Beating Patient

December 26, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Three workers at John Umstead Hospital in North Carolina are accused of beating a 51-year-old patient who staying at the state mental hospital while she was strapped to her bed. She was reportedly hit in the head because she attacked a clerk.

A health care technician at the hospital reports hearing noises from a room that sounded like someone was being struck. After her assault, a technician walked out of the “quiet room” where the beating took place and turned off the video monitor that showed the patient in the room.

One technician who took part in the assault on the patient complained that her knuckles were red and swollen from having to subdue the woman during the attack on the clerk.

Another 39-year-old patient reportedly punched, choked, and chased staff members and patients repeatedly before staff members decided to start monitoring her full-time. When the monitors weren’t around, the patient continued to attack other patients. Staff members were not wearing the body alarms that the hospital requires that they use.

Investigators are citing lack of proper leadership and qualified staff as two reasons that the abuse incidents were able to take place. They are recommending that the hospital lose its federal funding because it failed to prevent the violence. Federal funding makes up 25% of the hospital’s yearly budget.

Other incidents of abuse or neglect at the hospital include:

• Staff neglecting to observe a patient’s blood-sugar levels and administer insulin.
• A restrained patient who should have been observed at all times was able to free one of her arms and wrap her gown around her neck.

Unfortunately, there are already too many incidents of abuse and neglect that occur at nursing homes and other care facilities. Common types of abuse at a care facility include:

• Physical assault
• Sexual assault
• Rape
• Depriving the patient of food or water
• Excessive use physical restraints
• Excessive use of medication or chemical restraint or electric shock beyond what is prescribed by a doctor
• Slapping, shaking, or pushing the patient
• Imprisoning a patient
• Emotional abuse
• Mental abuse
• Verbal abuse

Hospital workers beat N.C. patient,, December 13, 2007

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse: Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Related Web Resource:

John Umstead Hospital – Butner,NC,


North Carolina Mother and Daughter Killed in Benson Tractor-Trailer Crash

December 19, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina mother and daughter died on Saturday when the car the 2001 Saturn they were riding in was struck from the back by a Food Lion tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 close to Benson, North Carolina.

Catherine Salter, 75, and her daughter Gail, 50, died at the scene of the crash. The truck driver, Ronald J. Hudson, was not hurt. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the accident.

If someone you love is killed in North Carolina or South Carolina because a truck driver, car driver, motorcyclist, or bus driver was negligent, your deceased loved one’s estate may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim to recover financial compensation for your loved one’s accidental death.

In North Carolina, wrongful death recovery can include compensation for:

• Medical costs of the decedent for treatment of the injury that led to the death
• Funeral, cremation, or burial costs
• Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased
• Lost income that the decedent would have provided as financial support
• Loss of companionship and comfort
• Punitive damages

It is important that you ask an experienced South Carolina or North Carolina wrongful death lawyer to help you. If the wrongful death was caused by a negligent truck driver—you will need the help of an attorney who is experienced in dealing with trucking companies and their insurers.

Truck accident cases are more difficult to prove than car accident cases. Your truck accident lawyer needs to be familiar with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations and understand the way truck companies and their insurers handle the personal injury and truck crash claims that are filed against them.

Crash kills Plainfield mother, daughter, Courier News Online, December 19, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

What Are the Causes of Truck Accidents?,

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Urges Motor Vehicle Drivers to Avoid Injury Accidents During the Holidays

December 17, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

The holiday season in Raleigh, Charlotte, and the other cities of North Carolina are a time for family and friends to gather together to celebrate the season and each other. This time of the year, however, can easily turn tragic if you are seriously injured or if someone you love is killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a careless, reckless, or drunk driver.

This year, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol wants to work with North Carolina motorists to make sure that people stay safe while riding on state roads and freeways during the holiday season.

Already, with 1257 traffic related-deaths, the motor vehicle death toll for 2007 in North Carolina is 109 fatalities more than what it was at this time of the year in 2006. Last year, from November 30, 2006 to January 2, 2007, 127 North Carolina drivers were involved in deadly traffic accidents that killed 27 people.

In an effort to keep the number of auto crash related-deaths from rising further this year, North Carolina troopers plan to set up DWI checkpoints and make sure that car drivers, motorcyclists, truck drivers, and bus drivers comply with state DWI laws through North Carolina’s “Booze It and Lose It” campaign and the nationwide Combined Accident Reduction Effort program through the holiday season.

Although we can’t control what other drivers do, each of us can take the proper safety measures to do our best to keep others and ourselves safe.

A Few Holiday Safety Tips from Precision Tune Auto Care:

• Don’t drink and drive
• Avoid driving if you are very tired or taking prescription medication
• Obey the speed limit
• Drive defensively
• Follow your car’s maintenance schedule
• Don’t talk on the phone/text message while driving
• Follow at a safe distance from the driver in front of you

In the event that you or someone you love is injured in a car accident, truck crash, or motorcycle collision anywhere in North Carolina or South Carolina, an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you file your personal injury claim or auto accident lawsuit to obtain your financial recovery from the negligent party.

Troopers encourage motorists to slow down and enjoy the holidays, The Leland Tribune, December 17, 2007

Gov. Easley Announces Holiday Booze It and Lose It” Campaign, State of North Carolina Office of the Governor, November 30, 2007

Safe driving tips for the holidays, Seacoast Online, December 26, 2003

Related Web Resources:

North Carolina Highway Patrol

North Carolina-Based Private Security Company Blackwater is Sued For Wrongful Death, Personal Injury, and War Crimes

December 10, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

The families of several Iraqis hurt or killed in a September shooting incident in Baghdad are suing Blackwater, the military contractor that is headquartered in North Carolina.

The lawsuit claims Blackwater engaged in war crimes, assault, wrongful death, emotional distress, and negligent hiring. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the families of five people who died in the September 16 shootings that took place around Baghdad’s Nusoor Square and two others who were injured in the attack.

The lawsuit claims that Blackwater guards used excessive force during the shootings and that the guards involved left a secure area and fired at their victims “without provocation.” Blackwater, however, disputes this claim and says its guards were just doing their job to protect a State Department convoy under attack by Iraqi insurgents. 17 people died and 24 others were wounded in the shootings.

The plaintiffs are accusing Blackwater of failing to make sure that its guards did not use steroids. The military contractor has fired employees in the past for steroid use.

The lawsuit also claims that Blackwater knowingly hired ex-Chilean commandos that were barred from working in their own countries because they committed human rights violations, as well as mercenaries from other nations.

The plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages, personal injury compensation, and wrongful death recovery.

The United States has paid Blackwater close to $1 billion for its services since the invasion of Iraq. Blackwater guards provide security to high-level U.S. officials in Baghdad.

The Iraqi government is now considering withdrawing the legal immunity that private security contractors currently enjoy in Iraq.

If you or someone you love has been injured because of the negligent, careless, reckless, or excessively violent actions of another person or entity, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against any negligent parties.

Blackwater accused in lawsuit over civilian deaths, USA Today, November 27, 2007

Blackwater Lawsuit Says Order Ignored, AP, November 27, 2007

Blackwater guards pumped on steroids, lawsuit alleges,, November 27, 2007

Iraq contractors say they’ll keep working without immunity,, December 9, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Prosecutors narrow focus in Blackwater killings, December 7, 2007

Blackwater Worldwide

Dennis Quaid Sues Drug Maker Baxter Healthcare Corp. in Newborn Twins’ Overdose

December 7, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Movie star Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly filed a products liability lawsuit against drug manufacturer Baxter Healthcare Corp. for negligence in the Heparin overdose of the couple’s newborn twins, Zoe Grace and Thomas Boone. Heparin is a blood thinning drug used to prevent blood clotting.

The couple is seeking over $50,000 in damages. In the lawsuit, the couple claims that Baxter Healthcare was negligent because it packages different sized-doses of Heparin in similar vials, which sometimes makes it confusing for health care workers to distinguish one dosage size from another. As a result, Heparin is an “unreasonably dangerous” drug.

The products liability lawsuit says that the drug maker should have recalled the vials with excessively large doses after three babies died last year because of similar mix-ups at a hospital at Clarian’s Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Three other infants survived similar overdoses there.

Zoe Grace and Thomas Boone Quaid were given an extremely high dosage of the blood thinner while at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. They received 1000 the amount that babies are supposed to receive, which caused the twins to bleed out. Rather than receiving 10 units of Heparin, they received 10,000 units, which is usually the amount of Heparin given to adults.

Another baby at Cedars-Sinai was also was given too much Heparin. Fortunately, the Quaid twins and the third child survived. Cedars-Sinai has apologized for the mix-up, calling it a “preventable error.”

After the deaths and injuries in Indianapolis, Baxter Healthcare issued a warning to health care workers telling them that they need to check the labels of Heparin vials to prevent similar mix-ups.

The Quaid family lawsuit says that the company should have repackaged the different doses of medicine, and the warning sent to health care providers should have come with an “urgent” label so better safety procedures could have been implemented at the different hospitals.

Drug manufacturers must test their drugs before releasing them into the marketplace. They also must include the appropriate warnings of any risks or side effects. Drug makers are required to market and package all drugs in a manner that doesn’t mislead or confuse users or health care providers.

If a person is injured or killed because of the negligence of a drug manufacturer, the injured person or his or her family (if the victim is a minor) may have grounds to file a products liability claim or lawsuit against the drug manufacturer and any other negligent parties.

Dennis Quaid, wife sue drug maker,, December 4, 2007

Dennis Quaid and wife sue drugmaker over heparin labeling, USA Today, December 4, 2007

Baby James: Surviving a Medical Mistake, WTHR, February 15, 2007

Dennis Quaid’s newborns reportedly harmed by medical mix-up, LA Times, November 21, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Baxter Introduces New Drug Safety Packaging for High Alert Medications,, December 3, 2007

Baxter Healthcare

Heparin Sodium Injection (PDF)

North Carolina Care Operator Still Runs Jacksonville Facility Despite Wrongful Death Verdicts

December 3, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Ron Burrell, the North Carolina care operator who has been ordered to pay some $5 million to two families whose loved ones died because of negligence at two of his facilities, still owns and operates the Alzheimer’s Related Care facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

The Alzheimer’s Related Care facility specializes in taking care of patients with dementia. The state of North Carolina, however, temporarily suspended admissions to the facility because of violations. The suspension followed a complaint by one of the residents that she had been raped and did not receive a medical exam until 68 days after the attack. Police were not notified that a sexual assault had occurred.

Burrell used to run some two dozen disabled and elder care facilities. A number of these homes been cited for numerous violations while under his supervision..

In 2003, a Meadows of Aberdeene resident died after going out drinking with another care facility patient. The patient stabbed him to death. A Rowan County home patient died in 2001 after not receiving the proper medication dosage.

Burrell, his partner Michael Elliott, and eight affiliated companies lost a $4 million wrongful death judgment in August. The lawsuit claimed that 85-year-old Eula Abernathy died because she was burned by hot bath water. The facility had been warned before the incident that the water heaters were set at temperatures that made the water too hot.

On November 7, a wrongful death verdict was issued that ordered Burrell to pay the family of 53-year-old Troy Stephens $836,075. Stevens, who was mentally challenged, wandered away from the Meadows of Garner home where he lived and drowned in a pond. Stevens’ family had warned the assisted-living staff that he had a tendency to wander.

Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence
If someone you love has been injured due to abuse or negligence at a nursing home residence or an elder care facility in South Carolina or North Carolina, you should speak to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer immediately.

Your nursing home neglect attorney can help you explore the legal options available to your loved one, who may be eligible for nursing home abuse or neglect compensation.

Some Possible Signs of residential care abuse include:

• Unexplained bruises
• Sudden weight gain
• Sudden weight loss
• Dehydration
• Bedsores
• Cuts or welts
• Emotional withdrawal

Care home owner still in business despite findings,, December 2, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, Nursing Home Alert

Deadly Neglect, Reader’s Digest, December 2006


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