THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — An investigation is underway after two people were found dead at Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center on the 700 block of Pineywood Road, according to Thomasville police.
At 7:56 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16, police say they started getting calls that people could not reach staff by phone and some residents hadn’t seen staff at the facility.
When officers arrived, police determined that staffing was “inadequate” with one licensed practical nurse and two certified nursing assistants to care for the 98 patients at the site.
Officers called in Thomasville firefighters and Davidson County EMS to help check on all of the patients. Crews were on scene until 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 17.
At the scene, officials found two of the nursing home residents dead. Two others were in critical condition.
It’s unclear if the deaths were a result of neglect or natural causes. Police are waiting for the results of the autopsies.
One of the residents in critical condition is on life support due to untreated breathing complications, according to her son.
He tells WFXR’s sister station she was found inside of her room by Thomasville authorities on Sunday night.
“These reports are deeply troubling and need to be investigated thoroughly. The health and safety of patients, particularly those in long-term care facilities, are critical,” said Jordan Monaghan, the press secretary for the office of Gov. Roy Cooper.
“Obviously, the weather and road conditions contributed to the inadequate staffing issues with this
facility,” said Capt. Brad Saintsing. “First and foremost, we want to ensure each and every resident of the facility is getting the quality of care they deserve. With these type of facilities, there is a protocol and we want to ensure it was followed as it relates to the weather and/or emergency situations.”
On Monday, Pine Ridge Health and Rehabilitation Center sent out “courtesy” calls to the families of residents, saying that some staff members were unable to come in due to the weather and that Davidson County Emergency Management “assisted” in providing care. The call was recorded by one of the individuals who received the voicemail.
“This is a courtesy call from Pine Ridge. We just wanted to make sure that you were aware that during the night shift on … January 16th, we had scheduled a full staff, but due to inclement weather, some of the folks were not able to come in. As a result, Davidson County Emergency Management assisted us with staff during those shifts to ensure provision of care. Today’s staff has been able to get to work in ensuring the residents’ needs are met continually.”
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Davidson County District Attorney’s Office, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and Davidson County Social Services are now involved in the case.