Another NC Man Dies Under Questionable Circumstances At Cherry Hospital

Posted on Aug 21, 2009
Cherry Hospital, a state psychiatric hospital that has been under fire for its mistreatment of patients, is once again under fire after a patient died shortly after being discharged. This most recent case of possible medical malpractice at the North Carolina hospital is the eleventh such case in the past seven years.

Officials say that 40-year-old Jeffery Scott Swaim was found in a Greyhound bus by his mother just hours after his release form the NC mental hospital. The man was unconscious and had a painkiller patch in his mouth at the time of his discovery. He died the next day in a Wilmington hospital. Although an official report has not been released, the man likely died of a drug overdose. The drug found in his mouth was fentanyl, an extremely potent painkiller related to morphine that is often abused by those with drug addictions, such as Swaim.

"He went there because he wanted help," said Heather Swaim, Jeff's wife, who also explained that her husband had been suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, and alcohol addiction. "And they gave him the drugs that killed him."

According to Cherry Hospital, which had a number of violations and federal punishments in the recent past, do not have records showing a fentanyl prescription for Swaim. Cherry Hospital's report on Swaim's death also lists the cause of his death as unknown.

The NC hospital's director, Philip Cook, said that he is looking at Cherry's future possibilities and did not focus on the possible NC medical malpractice case.

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