A man who drowned at a Columbia nursing home during Hurricane Matthew refused directions to come inside while he was outside smoking, according to an incident report from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
David Outlaw, 66, was found dead at National Health Care on Parklane Road shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday. He was face down, pinned underneath his wheelchair, officials said. An autopsy revealed he drowned after falling out of the wheelchair.
The incident report says staff told law enforcement that after Outlaw refused to come inside, a nurse went to give him medication several minutes later and spotted the wheelchair upside down.
Investigators are trying to determine if there was negligence involved in Outlaw’s death, sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Curtis Wilson said.
The nursing home is also under investigation by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control because of the incident, DHEC officials said.
DHEC also provided details of two recent complaints against the nursing home.
One complaint alleged that on Feb. 7, when a resident’s oxygen concentrator malfunctioned, she was found “gasping for air, incoherent, soaked with urine and no nurse or aide had attended her.” The same complaint claimed that on Feb. 10, there was another oxygen concentrator failure and that the resident’s oxygen level dropped to 41. The second complaint alleged that a resident was improperly admitted to the facility April 28.
DHEC inspections found no fault with the nursing home in either instance.
Repeated requests for comment from National Health Care, both corporate and local offices, have not been returned.
Staff writer Cynthia Roldán contributed.