WSAZ Investigates | Looking into timeline of man’s disappearance
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - WSAZ continues to look into the death of a man who had been missing for more than a month.
Charles “Chuck” Carroll, 70, went missing from Cabell Huntington Hospital on Dec. 30. He wasn’t reported missing until about a week later.
On Monday night, police say Carroll’s body was found in an outbuilding just blocks away from Cabell Huntington Hospital.
Now, WSAZ has a clear look at the surveillance video of Carroll in the hours he spent at the hospital.
WSAZ’s Sarah Sager sat down with the owners of the facility where Carroll had been living, and they say they’re devastated and can’t understand what went wrong. WSAZ has been telling viewers since Jan. 6 about Carroll’s story. Since then, we’ve been looking into his disappearance.
More than six weeks after Carroll went missing, he was found dead just blocks from where he was last seen still wearing his hospital bracelet.
During that time WSAZ has been trying to get surveillance video of Carroll walking out of Cabell Huntington Hospital from both the hospital and police in hopes that someone out there would recognize or remember seeing Mr. Carroll to help find him.
The day after Carroll’s body was found, WSAZ received that video. WSAZ’s Sarah Sager went through every clip. According to the time stamps, Carroll was in and around the hospital for more than four hours before finally walking away.
Thursday, the owners of Grayson’s Caring Hands, the assisted living facility where Carroll had been a resident asked to watch the video. “Is that him?” WSAZ’s Sager asked the Graysons. “Yes, that’s him”, said Kevin Grayson.
Kevin says he was working the day Carroll got sick and was taken to the hospital. The surveillance video shows Carroll first walking into the emergency room at 4:04 p.m. After that you can see Carroll being wheeled out of what’s labeled on the surveillance video as “ER Room 4″ into “ER Entry Front” where he is left alone at 4:19 p.m.
At 4:44 p.m. he gets up and walks to what is referred to on surveillance as “ED Registration Desk”. He walks out of frame at 4:49 p.m.
“Around 5:15 that evening before I left the office, I called Cabell myself to verify what was going on with Chuck and where he was at. I spoke to a female nurse who told me he had been admitted and they were waiting on a bed upstairs, and he was going to be transferred upstairs,” Kevin said.
Carroll isn’t seen on-camera again until 5:21 p.m. this time in a different waiting room labeled “ER Rear Waiting” where he again sits alone until 6:06 p.m.
That’s when Carroll is seen on a different camera walking out of the hospital through “ER Patient Entry.”
Next, the surveillance video shows Carroll walking along Hal Greer Boulevard at 6:09 pm.
It wasn’t until around d 8:10 p.m. – about four hours after first arriving at the hospital – when Carroll is seen near what appears to be bushes outside the hospital. The video shows Carroll looking around and walking through the parking lot.
At 8:15 p.m., Carroll is seen walking back into the hospital and even stops to talk with a worker.
While going through the video with the Grayson, Sager said, “He now appears to be talking to her. Talking to her. He’s engaging her,” said Kevin regarding Chuck talking to a worker on the surveillance video. “They appear to be having a conversation here. Again, this is 8:17 now. You’ll see here in the next couple of seconds there’s a jump because there were two videos and he appears to be walking out,” said WSAZ’s Sarah Sager.
At 8:20 p.m. the video shows Carroll walking down Hal Greer Boulevard until he is out of sight. That’s the last time Carroll is seen on camera.
Since Carroll’s body was found, WSAZ has been asking questions and trying to find out what happened.
WSAZ’s Sarah Sager asked, “Are you required to send an aide or someone with someone who has dementia to the hospital? Is a facility like yours required to send someone with them?”
“We are not,” Kevin said. However, the reason we sent Chuck by ambulance is so that he would not be a walk-in patient. I’ve been a nurse for 27 years. I worked in an emergency department for 11 of those years. When a patient comes in by ambulance those patients have priority before anybody in the walk-in. Walk-in is considered lobby. I’ve never personally, in the 11 years that I worked in the emergency department, I’ve never seen a patient arrive via ambulance and then be placed out in the lobby.”
Carroll’s hospital visit was on Dec. 30, 2021.
Here’s a timeline of what Kevin Grayson says happened next:
-On Jan. 3, 2022, Kevin’s nurse called Cabell Huntington Hospital to check on Carroll. According to Kevin, the nurse was told he was no longer a patient.
-On Jan. 4, 2022, Kevin’s wife and co-owner of the facility sent a text to Carroll’s case worker through DHHR to check on Carroll’s status. Kevin says the received no response. Kevin says they later learned that case manager was no longer working for DHHR.
-On Jan. 5, 2022, police say a social worker called to report Carroll missing.
-On Jan. 6, 2022, police issued a Silver Alert, a week after he was last seen.
-On Feb. 21, 2022, Carroll’s body was found in a shed just blocks from the hospital.
“I’m the whistleblower that began this entire process of looking for Chuck. Cabell Huntington never initiated a missing person. We did our part to get him to a higher level of care. Wherever that failed or wherever that went wrong was out of our hands the moment he got into that ambulance. Should someone have gone with him? They did. The paramedic like you said walked him in,” Kevin said.
Sager reached out to Cabell Huntington Hospital to ask some additional questions and see if they would want to speak with WSAZ on camera.
A spokesperson didn’t answer, but a few hours later received an email that reads in part, “We understand there are many questions surrounding the timeline. However, hospitals must abide by health care privacy laws and are unable to discuss the circumstances surrounding those seeking care.”
WSAZ asked: When a patient with dementia is dropped off and registered at the hospital, does a health care worker stay with the person or are they held in a secure area?
In their statement, the hospital spokesperson said, “The hospital has well-established procedures that it follows for all patients’ care and safety. Further, when the hospital it made aware that a patient has special circumstances, such as cognitive issues, additional measures can be taken for that patient’s safety.”
“The moment that he was sent in and they heard that he had dementia, there should have been an immediate placement in an observation room, a fully glass window where the charge nurse could have had eyes on him to know that he’s there and he’s OK, or someone knowing. That’s why he was sent through Cabell County EMS, so that someone could walk in with him,” Kevin said.
Kevin says he’s devastated by the outcome of this situation and at a loss for what went wrong.
WSAZ’s Sarah Sager asked, “How do you feel watching him (Carroll) walk?”
“I’m angry -- This doesn’t happen, and it happened. There’s no explanation on how you take an elderly patient with a high fever and dementia clearly get handed a report, clearly get signed off on. You know now you are responsible for that life,” Kevin said.
WSAZ reached out the Department of Health and Human Resources. A spokesperson told us DHHR’s Bureau of Social Services will be reviewing the matter.
WSAZ reached out to that same spokesperson Thursday, asking about the status of Carroll’s case manager at the time when he went to the hospital until the Silver Alert was issued. So far, WSAZ has not heard back, but we will keep trying to get answers.
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