Two top administrators at Cherry Hospital, a state-run mental facility in Goldsboro, left their jobs earlier this month.
Dr. Kimberly Johnson, who as clinical director served as the hospital's top doctor, left on Jan. 15. Nursing Director Bonnie Gray's last day at the hospital was Jan. 4.
Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services wouldn’t comment on the reasons for the departures, citing personnel privacy laws.
In an organization as large as DHHS it is not uncommon for staff to make voluntary career choices,” spokeswoman Renee McCoy said in an e-mail. “Those choices might reflect a range of decisions from better employment opportunities to retirement to a change of career paths. We certainly wish our workers well as they embark on new pathways.”
Johnson and Gray had helped run Cherry as it struggled during the last two years to regain federal certification following the death of a patient who choked on his medication and was then left sitting in a chair for nearly a day without food, water or medical attention.
Johnson, who could not be reached for comment this week, was prominently featured in an Oct. 2008 report in The News & Observer about $355,501 in spending from a non-profit foundation intended to benefit patients for overnight travel by staff to more than 100 medical conferences, catered meals and an annual retreat at a Wrightsville Beach resort.
Records showed Johnson used foundation money, much of it donated by pharmaceutical companies that make psychiatric drugs, to take more than a dozen trips during a three-year span, visiting such cities as New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, San Diego, San Francisco and Toronto.