There are questions of abuse and neglect surrounding the death of a nursing home resident in North Carolina. According to Star News Online, Mary Bowling was an 89-year-old widow at Carolina Rivers Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Her death certificate and medical examiner reports indicate doctors believed she was strangled on Sept. 12, 2014; 18 days later, she died under hospice care. A lawsuit has been filed alleging that the nursing home “knew that it was foreseeable that its residents were vulnerable and subject to intentional abuse by employees, visitors and other residents.” The suit was filed on Oct. 7 in Superior Court.
According to Star Online News, Bowling had no visitors during the time period where she suffered the strangulation, which was between 12:13 am and 6:51 am on Sept. 12, 2014. The suit states that no acute changes were noted at 12:13 am, but at 6:51 am she “was bleeding out of her ears … and her face was slightly purple,” the lawsuit alleges. When EMS arrived on the scene, they noted that Ms. Bowling had abdominal pain and was guarding her abdomen. She was taken to the emergency department at Onslow Memorial, where a doctors noted that her injuries were suggestive of strangulation. The doctor “questioned whether this was a ‘case of elder abuse” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit alleges that Bowling was attacked by an employee, but does not specify a particular person. Her death is being investigated by the Jacksonville Police Department. Law enforcement went to the nursing home after hospital doctors raised concerns about potential abuse.
Medicare.gov shows that Carolina Riers was placed on “immediate jeopardy” status on Sept. 19, 2014 because “inspectors determined that the nursing home failed to: protect each resident from all abuse, physical punishment and being separated from others; provide necessary care and services to maintain the highest well being of each resident; and immediately failed to tell the resident the resident’s doctor and a family member of the resident of situations (injury/decline/room, etc.) that affect the resident,”