One of the more sobering parts of my job is when I tell someone about a nursing home negligence case that I’m working on– only to get a response of ‘so what’ or the ever compassionate ‘that guy was going to die anyway’. Of course, death is an inevitable part of life, but older people have just as much right to live as younger people.
For too long our culture has accepted poor nursing home care as an inevitable part of the the aging process. Regardless of a person’s age or physical condition, they deserve the best feasible care. Cutting a person’s life short due to neglect or abuse can not be tolerated in our society.
With these quality of life thoughts in mind, I was pleased to see an article in the TheSunNews.com detailing South Carolina‘s new State Law Enforcement Divisions Vulnerable Adults Investigative Unit (SLED) to ‘investigate abuse, neglect, exploitation and deaths in government nursing homes.’
SLED was created by legislators in 2007 in response to a report from a non-profit group, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities that demonstrated the state’s existing state agencies ineffectively investigated the deaths of nursing home patients allegedly due to abuse.
According to SLED agent Matt Brown,
“A patient might be 105, but maybe he wasn’t supposed to die that day. He has the same right to live as 5-year-olds with their whole lives head of them.”
Since the creation of the SLED, 725 complaints of suspicious deaths were reported to the unit. 474 deaths were investigated and determined to be related to natural causes. 12 deaths were related to accidents. One of the investigated deaths was related to suicide. 231 of the reported death cases remain open or have yet to be investigated due to time time constraints.
I’m all for any program to help families get answers as to what may have happened to their loved one. However, in the case of the SLED program, it seems substantially under-funded to adequately investigate the cases pending before it. The fact that a substantial portion of the reported claims remain uninvestigated– years after they have been reported– is particularly disheartening because many of the key witnesses will likely be impossible to locate given the long lag time.
Abuse In South Carolina Nursing Homes
If you suspect a South Carolina Nursing Home has abused or mistreated your loved one, there are several agencies to report the conduct to. In addition, you may contact a nursing home attorney to act as your ‘private investigator’. Nursing Home Law Center LLC proudly represents individuals and families in nursing home negligence matters throughout the country. We would honor the opportunity to speak with you. (800) 926-7565
- State Law Enforcement Divisions Vulnerable Adults Investigative Unit (SLED) (866) 200-6066
- South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman, (800) 868-9095
- South Carolina Department of Social Services, (803) 898-7318
- South Carolina Attorney General, (888) 662-4328
For additional informtaion view our South Carolina nursing home law page.