14-32.2. Patient abuse and neglect; punishments; definitions.

(a) It is unlawful for any person to physically abuse a patient of a health care facility or a resident of a residential care facility, when the abuse results in death or bodily injury.

(b) Unless the conduct is prohibited by some other provision of law providing for greater punishment, a violation of subsection (a) of this section is the following:

(1) A Class C felony where intentional conduct proximately causes the death of the patient or resident.

(2) A Class E felony where culpably negligent conduct proximately causes the death of the patient or resident.

(3) A Class F felony where such conduct is willful or culpably negligent and proximately causes serious bodily injury to the patient or resident.

(4) A Class H felony where such conduct evinces a pattern of conduct and the conduct is willful or culpably negligent and proximately causes bodily injury to a patient or resident.

(c) through (e1) Repealed by Session Laws 2019-76, s. 12(a), effective January 1, 2020, and applicable to offenses committed on or after that date.

(f) Any defense which may arise under G.S. 90-321(h) or G.S. 90-322(d) pursuant to compliance with Article 23 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes is fully applicable to any prosecution initiated under this section.

(g) Criminal process for a violation of this section may be issued only upon the request of a district attorney.

(h) The provisions of this section do not supersede any other applicable statutory or common law offenses.

(i) The following definitions apply in this section:

(1) Abuse. - The willful or culpably negligent infliction of physical injury or the willful or culpably negligent violation of any law designed for the health or welfare of a patient or resident.

(2) Culpably negligent. - Conduct of a willful, gross, and flagrant character, evincing reckless disregard of human life.

(3) Health care facility. - Includes hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, psychiatric facilities, rehabilitation facilities, kidney disease treatment centers, home health agencies, ambulatory surgical facilities, and any other health care related facility whether publicly or privately owned.

(4) Person. - Includes any individual, association, corporation, partnership, or other entity.

(5) Residential care facility. - Includes adult care homes and any other residential care related facility whether publicly or privately owned. (1987, c. 527, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1140; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 535, s. 1; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 742, ss. 7, 8; 1999-334, s. 3.15; 1999-456, s. 61(b); 2007-188, s. 1; 2019-76, s. 12(a).)