Mount Pleasant nursing home faces wrongful death lawsuit amid history of problems

Published: May. 22, 2019 at 7:59 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - A man is suing a nursing home in Mount Pleasant claiming his brother died after living at the facility as a result of lack of care.

According to the lawsuit, the man’s brother, Isaac Gathers, was enrolled as a resident at Mount Pleasant Manor on Feb. 12, 2015.

The suit claims Gathers suffered several injuries including severe pressure sores, ulcers and skin breakdowns due to a lack of care, which delayed his chemotherapy treatment for pineoblastoma.

“As a result of the Defendants’ conduct Mr. Gathers suffered repeated and ongoing neglect and was subjected to dangerous conditions including the routine deprivation of basic custodial care,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Gathers died on February 5, 2016 from injuries related to the Defendants’ negligence.”

This lawsuit is one of several filed against the facility in the last several years, which include lawsuits claiming wrongful death, medical malpractice and more.

Nathan Hughey is an attorney based in Mount Pleasant who has filed several of those lawsuits against the facility and other nursing homes in the area.

“We’ve handled hundreds and hundreds of nursing cases and unfortunately tend to see the same issues over and over again, and sometimes against the same facilities over and over again,” Hughey said.

Public records from the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control show people filed at least 17 formal complaints about Mount Pleasant Manor in the last five years.

DHEC records show of all nursing homes in Charleston County, Mount Pleasant Manor has received the fifth-most amount of complaints.

Public records available through Medicare also show a history of problems with the facility.

Medicare gives Mount Pleasant Manor one out of five stars for both overall quality and for health inspections, which the government describes as “much below average.”

“Mount Pleasant Manor has a one-star rating from the federal government," Hughey said. “It’s been fined by the federal government for having repeated service issues.”

Medicare data also shows the facility has received 13 health citations, which is almost twice the state average of 7.4.

“The Medicare website currently lists this information for Mount Pleasant Manor: the facility has had no complaint inspections between 4/1/18 to 3/21/19, there have been no complaints in the past three years that resulted in a citation, and the number of times in the past three years a facility-reported issue resulted in a citation is 0," Mount Pleasant Manor Administrator Bruce White said. “The facility’s most recent DHEC survey in February 2019 resulted in two citations which is below the state and national averages. The staff at Mount Pleasant Manor take pride in the facility and the services provided to our residents and their families.”

Hughey said most lawsuits against nursing homes in the Charleston area, including those against Mount Pleasant Manor, boil down to one common issue.

“I think most of these nursing homes come down to either staffing issues, or lack of oversight or both,” Hughey said.

Hughey also said problems with nursing home facilities are not uncommon in the Charleston area, which is an issue he thinks needs fixing.

“Unfortunately, here in Charleston, several of the facilities seem to provide just enough care to get by and not get shut down,” Hughey said. “And that’s not what we’re looking for.”

White also said he could not comment on the pending lawsuit against the facility.

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