Mental patients get stuck in ERs –

RALEIGH — Across North Carolina, mental patients are routinely languishing for days in emergency rooms ill-equipped to care for them, waiting for a bed to open at one of four state-run psychiatric hospitals.

Often, they pass the time handcuffed or sedated. Law-enforcement officers assigned to guard patients whose illness makes them prone to violent outbursts have occasionally resorted to using Tasers to shock them into submission.

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