Overdose Killed Patient Released From Cherry Hospital

An autopsy shows a North Carolina man just discharged from a state psychiatric hospital died from a massive overdose of a painkiller given to him by the facility.

The News & Observer reported Tuesday that 40-year-old Jeffery Scott Swaim died in July of acute Fentanyl poisoning.

The synthetic opiate was the active ingredient in the pain patch Swaim was prescribed at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro. The newspaper said the drug has been linked to hundreds of overdose deaths nationally and is often abused by those seeking a high.

Doctors at a Wilmington hospital found one of the pain patches in Swaim's mouth.

He was admitted to the psychiatric hospital almost two weeks earlier seeking treatment for alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Concerned Location: Greenville, N. C. on Nov 25, 2009 at 09:37 AM
    You said it best Joey of Snowhill
  • by Concerned Location: Greenville, N. C. on Nov 25, 2009 at 09:36 AM
    i just don't think North carolina is trained for people with mental illness. They hire anybody with no experience and minimum wage.
  • by debra Location: kinston on Nov 25, 2009 at 07:10 AM
    I just hate it for the family. Not only did they loose a family member, but now they have to deal with all this other stuff too. God bless them.
  • by The Pirate Lady Location: Grimesland on Nov 25, 2009 at 06:07 AM
    So let me get this straight. A person suffering from alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts is given a painkiller patch? Does that make sense?
  • by Dot Location: gboro on Nov 24, 2009 at 04:21 PM
    Cherry passed a policy last year that is basically a gag order that disciplines employees from commenting on quality of care, the news and observer reported on this gag order and the DHHS spokesperson Renee Mccoy told the News observer reporter that the policy would be changed, it was not. So the real story never comes out cause employees get in trouble for speaking out. The front line staff and patients at Cherry suffer a great deal while the big management types chill with new furniture, flat screen tvs etc, ignoring that the patients are crammed in 3 and 4 to a room and that nurses have 25 or more patients and that the doctors have no time to spend with the patients. The only time we have adequate staff is when the inspectors are there. Cherry has some good workers but is a horrible horrible place due to low funding and low staffing levels and poor management. I have been associated with Cherry for 23 years as volunteer and employee, it gets worse everyday
  • by NA Location: Greenville on Nov 24, 2009 at 02:35 PM
    In reality, the out patient mental health system is very hard to navigate and most people that leave Cherry are not followed by a psych/mental health clinic due to lack of housing, lack of money, lack of transportation, and lack of mental capacity. There is no Free walk in off the sreet clinic. Of course ther are those that just refuse to follow .
  • by NA Location: Greenville on Nov 24, 2009 at 02:29 PM
    Cherry hospital has its downfalls but sometimes it is the only treatment available for people with substance abuse and mental heath disorders. The NC mental health system is overun and underfunded right now and many citizens are suffering. When people refer to this place as the "looney Farm hospital" It is disrespectufl to any that have been there. People do not chose to have a mental health disorder any more than someone choses to have a medical disorder.
  • by Joey Location: Snow Hill on Nov 24, 2009 at 02:11 PM
    This is a sad commentary on the state of our health care in this country...we don't fund descent care for mentally ill people and don't have adaquate programs to help those seeking help with addictions. Yet, our churches are full on Sundays while the "devoted" ignore the words of Jesus, "What you do for the least among you, you do unto me"......The American people need to start putting their support/money where their faith is supposed to be, instead of blaiming the poor...the sick....and the hopeless among us for all of society's ills. I believe the true measure of a people is HOW THEY CARE FOR THEIR ELDERLY, THEIR SICK; THEIR HUNGRY; AND THEIR HOPELESS......we don't have very high standards/marks in this area. Today's story is one example.
  • by RN Location: Eastern NC on Nov 24, 2009 at 01:57 PM
    In response to "to RN", just where did I "attack" anyone on here?? I was responding to 'Anonymous' who stated "They found the patch in his mouth, it did not say the man put it there." FYI-As for there being no mention of his pain in the segment, they are reporting from an Autopsy Report. That information would not be included. It could be he's been on the patch for years (through his OWN Primary Care Physician). Most ppl at Cherry are not there voluntarily. MD's at these facilities usually continue with a person's regular meds, and may add a psych drug. Most are then followed at home by a local Psych/Mental Health Clinic after discharge.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 24, 2009 at 01:48 PM
    Whoops!
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