Police probing death of patient, 59

Prosperity police are investigatingthe death of a former residentof a Newberry County adultcarefacility who died last week.

Authorities are calling theman’s condition one of the worstcases of neglect they have seen.

“Matter of fact, that’s putting itmildly,” Prosperity Police ChiefCraig Nelson said Tuesday.

William Sealy, 59, died Fridayat Newberry County MemorialHospital, Nelson said. Until Sealy’shospitalization a day earlier, hehad been a resident of SouthsideResidential Care Facility in Prosperity.

Nelson declined to disclose thecause of Sealy’s death, and effortsTuesday to reach the NewberryCounty coroner’s office were unsuccessful.

Nelson said police are investigatingSouthside, but it’s too earlyto say whether charges will befiled.

The hospital contacted policeThursday, and Nelson was able tospeak briefly with Sealy. Policetook him into protective custody

the same day. Nelson said Sealyhad a number of health problemsand looked frail.

Nelson told TV station WLTXthat Sealy had bedbugs and that hehad been wearing the same pair ofsocks for so long that skin came offwith them when they were removed.

Efforts Tuesday to reach Southsideadministrator and owner RoyBowers were unsuccessful.

Bowers has owned the facilityfor at least 10 years, according tolicensing records with the S.C. Departmentof Health and EnvironmentalControl, which overseesadult-care facilities.

“They have issues from time totime, like many facilities,”spokesman Thom Berry said. “Butnothing we would consider a majorviolation.”

DHEC learned of Sealy’s deathfrom Prosperity police, but regulatorswill not be involved until thecriminal investigation is complete,Berry said.

Southside’s last inspectionbased on a complaint was in September,after someone calledDHEC and said residents were beingleft alone at night, Berry said.

Inspectors could not corroboratethe complaint, and it wasjudged as unfounded, he said.

The last routine inspection wasin January 2007, when officialsfound problems with documentationto show that staff memberswere meeting training requirementsand that plans for caring forresidents were properly updated,Berry said. The facility fixed thoseproblems, he said.

Southside is the second S.C.adult-care facility in less than amonth to face accusations of seriousproblems with quality of care.

Peachtree Manor, a FairfieldCounty center, was evacuatedMarch 28 by state officials whenthey learned the embattled facilitydid not have enough medicationsfor residents. The pharmacy supplyingthe medicines refused to restockbecause Peachtree had notpaid its bill.

It was the latest in a series ofinfractions inspectors found startingin 2006, the first year ofPeachtree’s operation.

Last week, a judge supportedthe immediate transfer of allPeachtree residents and upheld therevocation of its license.