The Hughey Law Firm has successfully pursued claims against this facility.
When you or a loved one needs medical treatment, short-term healthcare, or long-term nursing care, you put trust in the facilities, doctors, and staff who are responsible for care. Unfortunately, not all facilities meet the high standards which everyone deserves when they receive medical care.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) perform regular inspections at facilities that accept Medicaid and Medicare for payment, which is the vast majority of hospitals and healthcare facilities in the nation. These inspections can result in citations and fines for facilities that don’t meet CMS standards.
Heartland Health Care Center has received numerous citations and more than $7,000 in fines over the last few years. This doesn’t necessarily mean patients at its facilities have suffered harm or are in immediate danger, but it might prompt you to keep an eye on any family member who receives short-term transitional care at Heartland. If you family member has suffered at the hands of the Hearthland Health Care Center then of course don’t hesitate to talk to a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer.
When medical facilities provide inadequate care or fail to maintain a safe and clean environment for patients and residents, injuries and illnesses can happen. Additionally, suffering harm or injury as a result of a medical professional or facility damages the trust we give to them, sometimes adding emotional trauma to physical injury and illness.
If you or someone you love has suffered illness or injury because of negligence or medical malpractice while in short term rehabilitation at Heartland Health Care Center’s Greenville West location, or at any other South Carolina nursing facility, the law gives you the right to take legal action for damages related to the illness or injury.
The skilled legal team at Hughey Law Firm Injury Lawyers has experience with abuse and neglect cases, medical malpractice cases, and cases involving injuries as a result of ordinary negligence. Contact us at (843) 881-8644 to discuss the details of your claim during a free consultation.
About Heartland Health Care Center – Greenville West
The Greenville West location of Heartland Health Care Center has 125 beds and offers short-term care and long-term care. Short-term care serves as a transition for those who are coming from the hospital and ultimately will be going home after they have recovered from surgery, injury, heart attack, stroke, cancer, or whatever ailment landed them in the hospital. The long-term care portion of the facility is more of a traditional nursing home that offers different levels of care for residents.
Heartland Health Care Center’s Inspections
CMS publishes inspection reports for every hospital and nursing care facility. The reports include details of any issues inspectors find during their visits. Below are some of the findings from Heartland Health Care Center’s most recent CMS inspections:
2017 CMS Inspection
- The facility failed to provide care to maintain or build dignity and respect in residents. Inspectors found staff placed clothing protectors on residents without permission and pulling a resident backward into the dining room in a wheelchair.
- The facility failed to maintain a clean, homelike environment in some of its dining areas and bathrooms. One bathroom had several loose baseboards and floor tiles potentially causing danger for residents. The same bathroom had layers of dust and gray matter on the light fixtures and exhaust fan. Another bathroom also had loose tiles, heavy dust on fixtures, and dead bugs on the floor. Dining rooms were full of dead bugs on the window screen and on the floor.
- The facility failed to maintain cleanliness in the kitchen and kept expired contents in treatment carts. Sanitation levels for mop buckets and in the sinks for washing dishes were not at the appropriate level in the main kitchen. In the facility’s nutrition kitchen, the microwave and refrigerator area had dried spills and stains. The microwave used for residents had not been cleaned and had dried food inside. One of Heartland Health Care Center’s treatment carts had expired Peri Wash, dressings, foam, and other solutions.
- The facility failed to regularly assess quality and assurance issues and to develop actionable steps to fix any deficiencies.
2018 CMS Inspection
- The facility did not provide a complete care plan within the time allotted after an assessment for residents. Once a complete assessment has been completed, the facility has seven days to put together a complete care plan to be reviewed and revised by a team of healthcare professionals.
- Inspectors found that Heartland failed to review care plans in several residents. In some cases, Heartland completed assessments, but did not update the care plan to reflect the resident’s needs. In a particular instance, the facility did not facilitate any activities for a resident, after he expressed interest in multiple things. The resident was left to stay in bed in his room.
2019 CMS Inspection
- Heartland Health Care Center – Greenville West was found to have failed to honor residents’ rights dignity, self-determination, and communication. Caregivers and facilities didn’t know on resident doors before entering rooms.
- The facility failed to maintain a clean, comfortable, and safe environment. Shared bathrooms had baseboards that were unclean with stains and splatter marks. When one resident reported the issue to the staff, they never got around to cleaning. The inspectors noted in the report that the baseboards “appeared to not have been cleaned on a regular basis.”
- The facility did not make sure a licensed pharmacist performed a monthly review of resident drug regimens and they did not follow pharmacy recommendations in at least one case.
- The facility failed to implement procedures to reduce or eliminate infection. In one case, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) administered insulin without cleaning the rubber seal before giving the injection.
Medical Malpractice in South Carolina
The above findings regarding Heartland Health Care Center – Greenville West reveal several conditions that could potentially cause illness or injury to a resident.
Depending on the exact situation, if you seek compensation for harm caused by a nursing facility, your lawyer might advise you to file a medical malpractice lawsuit or a standard negligence-based personal injury suit. Medical malpractice suits are complex cases with additional requirements, making it imperative for you to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney.
Actions That Might Give Rise to a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
A wide variety of actions by medical professionals might be construed as medical malpractice if the patient suffers harm or illness, including:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of an illness or disease
- Failure to get a patient’s complete medical history
- Never events which are medical errors that include unnecessary surgeries, wrong site surgeries, and surgical errors
- Failure to prescribe the right treatment to a patient
- Improperly administering medication
- Failure to provide adequate followup care and service
- Failure to complete proper diagnostic imaging and other lab tests
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
South Carolina law permits you to file a medical malpractice claim for two or three years after the date of injury, the date you discovered the injury, or the date you should have discovered the injury, depending on the facility. For example, you might not see the symptoms or problems with a surgical error for weeks or months after the surgery.
In these cases, your two or three-year time clock starts from the day you discovered the injury. South Carolina, however, does have a strict statute of repose, which means you cannot file a medical malpractice claim past six years after you suffered injury or illness as a result of the care you received.
Additional Documents for Medical Malpractice Claims in South Carolina
If you choose to file a medical malpractice claim in South Carolina, you need an experienced attorney who understands the additional requirements set out by state law. Those who file medical malpractice claims must file a Notice of Intent and an Affidavit of Expert with the court.
Once your lawyer helps you file these documents, the time limit you have to file a lawsuit stops while you go through a mediation process. If mediation doesn’t lead to a settlement, you can then file a lawsuit. Below is a broad overview of each required document:
- A Notice of Intent to File Suit needs to name all defendants in the suit. In many cases, this includes doctors, caregivers, or other medical professionals involved and the facility. The document also must include a short statement about the malpractice which entitles you to compensation. After filing the Notice of Intent with the court, you must also serve a copy to the facility and any other listed defendants.
- An Affidavit of Expert is a statement from a qualified medical expert witness which describes at least one of the instances of medical error or negligence allegedly committed by the facility and/or the medical professional. You submit this statement with the Notice of Intent to the court, as well as a copy for all defendants named in the claim.
Recovering Damages After a Medical Malpractice Injury
After you submit the proper documents for a medical malpractice claim, you will be required to go through mediation. If you cannot reach an agreement during mediation or your case does fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice, you might receive compensation for damages related to your injury if you file an ordinary negligence suit against the facility and/or medical professional. You might receive compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses which might include ambulance service, emergency response teams, hospital stay, diagnostic tests, corrective surgery, prescriptions, and follow up visits
- Future medical costs when malpractice or negligence leads to a permanent disability or disease requiring ongoing care and treatment
- Expenses related to transferring to another facility
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Other non-economic damages related to the negligence or injury
- Punitive damages when injury results from willful harm or gross negligence
Compensation Limits on Medical Malpractice Claims
South Carolina law limits the amount of non-economic damages a malpractice victim can collect from a malpractice claim to $350,000. This includes things such as physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, scarring and disfigurement, or any other non-economic damages which might apply to your case. By including additional defendants, the limit for non-economic damages may be increased. No limits exist on the amount of punitive damages an injured victim can receive to punish defendants. However, courts don’t always report or charge punitive damages.
Your medical malpractice attorney must prove the defendant(s) purposely harmed you, which isn’t the norm in these types of cases. In cases of outright neglect or abuse, which are not malpractice cases, you are more likely to see punitive damages; however, in situations where the facility or a medical professional try to cover up a medical error or malpractice, they have committed fraud. Many times courts have awarded punitive damages when fraud is involved in medical malpractice cases.
If you lost a family member as a result of injuries sustained during a stay at Heartland Health Care Center – Greenville West, you might be eligible for damages depending on your relationship with the person who died. South Carolina allows eligible family members to seek damages in a wrongful death suit to recover economic and non-economic losses related to the death of their loved one. You might receive some of the damages previously listed, funeral expenses, burial or cremation costs, and additional non-economic damages related to the death of your family member.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Today
The injured, ill, and elderly need to go to short-term and long-term care centers like Heartland for treatment, transitional care, and lifelong healthcare needs. These facilities and the medical professionals who work at them should never cause injury or fatality to their patients and residents.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in the course of receiving care at Heartland Health Care Center – Greenville West, or any other nursing facility in South Carolina, then you deserve compensation for your losses. The lawyers at Hughey Law Firm Injury Lawyers are here to help you hold nursing home providers and practitioners accountable for the harm you suffered while in their care. Contact us today at (843) 881-8644 or online to discuss the details of your injuries.
Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464