A 45-year-old University of Southern Maine employee, David Norton, suffered a stroke in his office the Friday prior to Columbus Day and was barely alive when he was discovered still in the office the following Wednesday. Five days after that, he died in a hospital.
The Post-Standard reports that in the wake of Norton’s death, the University of Southern Maine is taking a fresh look at its policies when securing the buildings at the end of each night. Norton was a a senior communications specialist who suffered a stroke in his office, leaving him disabled and unable to call for help. He was single and lived alone, so no one was alerted to go look for him until he missed a meeting. USM police put three parking tickets on Norton’s car over the weekend, as it is illegal to leave a vehicle overnight, but no one thought to check his office.
Campus security checks each office at night by rattling the doorknob of each office, but Norton’s mother said the case of her son, who laid dying on his office floor for five days, merits a change in policy. She says each office should be opened and checked.
“I know this was a medical problem, and I know it was sudden,” Linda Norton, David’s mother, told WCSH6. “But the first few hours after a stroke are the golden hours and he had to wait five days.”
Though the Southern Maine campus has more than 1,300 offices, the school does plan to initiate a review.
“As a result of this, we really feel obligated to take a look at these policies and determine if changes can be made to make sure we’re doing all that we can to ensure the safety of everybody here,” USM Executive Director of Public Affairs Bob Caswell said.