This story happens all too frequently. An elderly nursing home resident who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease wanders away from a facility and is found dead hours, days, weeks, or months later.

An investigation by the state of North Carolina shows that a nursing home in Concord made several mistakes, which could have played a role in the death of a patient. The report says that the staff and director of Five Oaks Manor knew that 87-year-old Annie Bell Scarboro could be in danger because she had wandered off before. Scarboro got through three sets of doors unsupervised. First, she went through the dining room doors. A worker says those doors hadn’t locked properly for at least eight months. Then, Scarboro went through the kitchen doors and out a back door leading to the loading dock. The back door, according to the report, had no alarm. Scarboro fell 4 feet off the loading dock .The “merry walker” chair she used to get around landed on top of her. A nurse who found Scarboro told inspectors, “I went out there and saw her blood was running everywhere.”

My Take: Mrs. Scarboro didn’t need to die…and she would be alive today had she received the proper care she and her family paid for.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at