The North Carolina Court of Appeals has agreed with a Granville, NC, mother who lost her son after a local hospital released him against her wishes.

Bernice Allen testified that she told Granville Medical Center not to release her son until she arrived to pick him up. Her son, William, suffered from epileptic seizures and was otherwise disabled – and she explained to the hospital staff that he was unable to make it home alone. When the mother arrived to pick up her son, however, he was gone. His body was recovered in a ravine seven months after his disappearance.

A lower court rejected the lawsuit on the grounds that a medical expert failed to give an opinion on the case, but the NC Court of Appeals reversed the decision, clarifying that it was a North Carolina medical negligence case, not a North Carolina medical malpractice case. Judge John Martin said the hospital’s failure was not properly supervising someone they understood to be unable to care for himself.