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David Norton Spends Five Days Alone In Office After Stroke, Dies

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PORTLAND, Maine -- A computer specialist had a stroke in his office but wasn't discovered until five days later, then died at a hospital, relatives and authorities said Wednesday.

David Norton, 45, of Portland, was barely alive when police found him Oct. 10 inside his University of Southern Maine office. He died Oct. 15 at Maine Medical Center.

Norton had a stroke the Friday before Columbus Day and was found in his locked office by USM police the following Wednesday after a co-worker reported he'd missed a meeting and couldn't be reached, said Norton's mother, Linda Norton, of Kingfield.

She's asked USM to develop a policy for police to check every university office every day.

"Would you want your son laying there for five days? He laid there for five days after having a massive stroke," she said. "The way you treat a massive stroke is the sooner the better. You have those magic few hours, and it's not five days."

Norton was employed by the University of Maine System as a senior communications specialist, working on computer networks across different campuses.

Norton was single, so he didn't have a wife who would have reported him missing, his mother said. He also was known to sometimes take off on hiking trips and leave his car in a university parking lot while he was gone, USM spokesman Bob Caswell said.

USM police put three parking tickets on Norton's car over the Columbus Day weekend for illegal overnight parking in a school parking lot, he said.

In the wake of the tragedy, university officials are reviewing the school's policies and procedures to determine if changes are warranted, Caswell said.

"I can't speculate on what those changes might be, but this situation certainly warrants a review to make sure we're doing all we can to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff," he said.

USM has 75 buildings and nearly 1,300 offices on its campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston, Caswell said. The USM Police Department has a chief and nine officers.

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