Family says Durham rehab center failed to protect mom from COVID-19 outbreak

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — New information from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shows an alarming number of COVID-19 cases at nursing homes in Durham and Orange counties.

According to the latest numbers from the NCDHHS, Pruitt Health-Carolina Point in Orange County has 108 confirmed coronavirus cases and there have been 11 COVID-19 related deaths at the facility.

The latest info shows 95 confirmed cases and seven COVID-19 related deaths at the Durham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

At Treyburn Rehabilitation Center, data from NCDHHS showed 33 confirmed cases and three deaths.

Terri Compton told CBS 17 her mother, Jane Sturdivant, contracted COVID-19 at Treyburn Rehabilitation Center and she said her mother is fighting for her life right now.

“When you are losing somebody, especially your mother, you start saying ‘I wish I had done this, I wish I had done that’,” Compton said. “I wish I had never agreed to her going to Treyburn.”

Compton argued that the staff at Treyburn did not properly isolate her mother after there were confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

“Those physical therapy people were taking my mom out in the hallway,” Compton said. “She should’ve never been taken out of her room.”

Compton said her mother was tested for the coronavirus a couple weeks ago, but the test came back negative. She said her mother began having COVID-19 related symptoms last week.

Compton argued that the administration at Treyburn ignored her mother’s symptoms.

“My mother laid in that bed with severe headaches and couldn’t even get any medicine,” Compton said.

Compton said it was one of the young nurses who called a hospital Friday when her mother’s condition began to worsen.

Compton said hospital officials called her on Friday to tell her that her mother had tested positive for COVID-19.

She argued that Treyburn did not do enough to protect her mother.

“I feel like they are responsible,” Compton said.

Officials with Treyburn told CBS 17 in a statement they closely monitor the residents for symptoms and they screen all of their employees.

Officials also said they notify all residents and their families of the positive cases at the facility.

But Compton said that the facility never contacted her about any of the coronavirus cases at Treyburn Rehabilitation Center.

She argues that Treyburn needs to do more to protect their residents.

“It’s awful, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life,” Compton said. “It’s awful and those people there they don’t care. At Treyburn, and they don’t care.”

Below is a full statement from Susan Kaar with Southern Healthcare Management, a company that oversees Treyburn Rehabilitation Center:

“As everyone has been made aware, the coronavirus is a very dangerous virus especially in the elderly and it is unfortunate that the center has had multiple confirmed positive cases.  We want to convey our deepest concern for our residents and/or staff who have been diagnosed positive for coronavirus; our thoughts are with them and their loved ones at this challenging time.

Our center leadership and staff continue in their vigilance to keep our residents and staff safe taking significant measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.   

The safety of our residents and staff is paramount.  In collaboration with the local Department of Public Health, the center implemented a proactive and preventative measure and initiated testing of residents for COVID-19.  This approach allowed for earlier identification of those who may be positive, yet not showing any signs or symptoms, and assist with our ongoing effort to contain the virus.  This approach enhances the ability to further protect the residents and staff so all necessary care and services can be authorized sooner. 

The center has also followed protocol by communicating with all residents and their responsible party by notifying them once the center had an individual that was confirmed positive for COVID-19.

The center has been advised that some residents tested positive for COVID-19 and the center is currently engaged in extensive re-testing of residents and staff.  Residents with positive tests will continue to be monitored at the center’s designated observation unit unless the physician orders them to be transferred to the local hospital for further care and services.  We thank our local hospital systems for their service in providing excellent care and aid to our residents and our continued partnership. 

We understand the interest in knowing the test results; however, the privacy rights of the residents and staff prohibit their disclosure.  The facility has been informed that the Department of Public Health will be providing updates regarding cases in the local community.

We continue to collaborate with, and appreciate the additional support of, the local Department of Health and their team.  The facility staff continues to follow all CDC guidelines including adhering to all protocols for pre-screening residents prior to any admission or re-admission, on-going monitoring of all residents, screening of staff, and maintaining compliance with infection control techniques and personal protective equipment recommendations.   

We want to convey our deepest concern for those who have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19.  Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones at this challenging time.  This pandemic is unprecedented and our deepest condolences go out to everyone who has lost a loved one during this crisis.  The facility staff remains committed to doing everything we can to minimize the spread of this virus.”

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