When a woman suspected that her 101-year-old grandfather was being mistreated at a Mount Pleasant nursing home in 2012, she contacted a private investigator and suggested that he install a hidden video camera in her grandfather’s room.
Concerned that a hidden camera might violate residents’ and employees’ privacy rights, the investigator consulted an attorney, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. He then placed a camera in a way that limited any view of the elderly man’s roommate. The investigator also made sure the device didn’t record sound so that the roommate’s conversations would remain private.
The result, police said, was video evidence of the man being assaulted with pokes, shakes and even kisses on the cheek. The footage reportedly shows the nursing home resident grabbing a glass of water and reaching for a phone and an electric razor to defend himself.
a certified nurse’s assistant was arrested, and the case is now pending. But that’s not the end of the story.
Electronic Surveillance Bill Introduced to State Senate
The Post and Courier reports that the case has motivated Senator Paul Thurmond, of Charleston to devise a bill that would let families have access to electronic surveillance to monitor their relatives’ care. Thurmond said his bill is modeled after legislation that was unanimously approved by Oklahoma lawmakers in April.
Under Thurmond’s proposal, state-licensed facilities would be required to inform residents and their families of the tool at their disposal. In addition, criminal penalties could be imposed on anyone who tampers with the video equipment.
While this bill is intended as a protective measure, there are certain hurdles to overcome before it can become law. For one, critics have raised concerns over privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina has made it clear that it will recommend the use only of soundless video recordings so that conversations unrelated to any alleged abuse case are not recorded.
Another worry is that such a law could make it much more difficult for nursing homes to keep staff, who are already dealing with low pay and a demanding work environment.
Need Legal Help?
Nursing homes are supposed to take care of and protect our family members. So when abuse or neglect occurs, it’s natural to feel betrayed. If you or a loved one has been mistreated in a South Carolina nursing home, contact our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm. Call (877) 936-9707 or use our online form so our attorneys can offer you advice about your rights.