EASLEY—New details are being revealed about a possible heat-related death at the Majesty Health and Rehab facility back in June.
Eloise Arnold, 84, died shortly after being found unresponsive on June 30. Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley said there was reason to believe then that Arnold’s cause of death could have been heat-related.
Thursday, Kelley released results from the autopsy, stating Arnold died from Acute Citalopram Toxicity, Hyperthermia.
A release from Kelley stated Arnold had other “significant conditions” contributing to her death. Those conditions included: Atheriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiomegaly, Hypertension, and Chronic Urinary Tract Infection.
The death has been ruled accidental.
A recent investigation by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) states Majesty employees were aware of the high temperatures in the facility prior to Arnold’s death.
“The facility nursing staff was educated, and was knowledgeable regarding the identified concerns related to maintenance concerns/process, heat related illness, neglect, and physician/responsible party notification,” a DHEC report stated, after surveying 15 people, including nine Majesty staff members.
The report stated several areas of the building, including Arnold’s room, did not maintain “comfortable” temperatures during the time of the death.
“The facility failed to maintain safe and comfortable ambient temperature levels for the dining room, eight resident rooms and the hallway adjacent to the eight rooms,” said the DHEC report.
DHEC also stated police were able to confirm this through an investigation on June, 30.
“The Supplemental Police Report stated that on arrival at the facility the officer walked into (a room) at 7:45 PM,” the report stated. “A thermometer was positioned on a table near (a resident’s) bed that read ‘90 degrees.’ The (police) report stated that the officer, during a check of all affected resident rooms, ‘stuck his hand up at every air vent in the ceiling to see how much air was exiting through the vent. There was little to no air flow.’”
The DHEC report stated Majesty administration was made aware of the situation.
“The facility administrator and the regional vice president were made aware, on (June. 29, 2012) by a family member, that the heat on Unit 3 was extreme for the residents,” the report stated.
When surveying a nurse practitioner at the facility, DHEC officials asked several questions about the heat.
“When asked, ‘Is it reasonable to say that someone with her health problems should be monitored during heat or a problem with heat?’ (One Nurse Practitioner) stated, ‘Yes,’” the DHEC report said.