A spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services said the medical technicians are on paid leave from the Central Regional Hospital in Butner, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported. The State Bureau of Investigation and state police are involved in the case.
Michael Hennike, the hospital director, sent an e-mail to staff last week to remind them regulations forbid staff to use cell phones in patient areas.
Last year, after Disability Rights North Carolina sued over conditions at Butner and won a restraining order from a judge.
"We find it extremely disturbing that after all that has happened we
would still be investigating staff behavior that is so clearly inappropriate," said Vicki Smith, the group's executive director. "These folks are vulnerable. To be put in a position of being exploited by the very people who are supposed to be treating them is unconscionable."