Coroner: Twilite Manor resident had “severe pneumonia,” death remains under investigation

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Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 1:20 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2022 at 11:23 PM EST
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CAYCE, S.C. (WIS) - A man found dead at an assisted living facility in Cayce sparked a full-scale evacuation of the other residents after officers expressed concern for the remaining residents.

The Cayce Police Department received a call on Friday morning about an unresponsive man at Twilite Manor, and responding officers found a male resident dead.

According to Lexington County Coroner, Margaret Fisher, Timothy Catalano, 69, was identified as the resident at Twilite Manor who was found unresponsive around 10 a.m. Fisher says Catalano has lived at the Twilite Manor since March 1, 2012.

Another resident was taken to the hospital to receive immediate medical attention, according to officials. The remaining 13 residents were evacuated.

In a statement, Cayce officials described what officers found when they arrived at the scene:

  • A deceased male; whom has now been identified by Coroner Margaret Fisher as 69-year-old, Timothy Frank Catalano.
  • Another elderly patient that had to be transported for immediate medical treatment.
  • The remaining 13 patients at the facility had not eaten or received any of their medications since the night before. We became aware of several patients who needed specific assistance, as there were patients who were blind, suffered from mental illness, and or were completely unable to care for themselves even in the most basic ways, such as eating or using the bathroom unassisted.
  • We found a facility with no medical staff on site that could handle a medical emergency if one occurred. And unfortunately, a medical emergency did occur.

According to Fisher, a housekeeper said no medical staff or other facility personnel were or had been present at the facility before 7 a.m. Cayce officials also confirmed that there was no medical staff on-site.

On Tuesday, Fisher released the preliminary autopsy results of Catalano. Preliminary results did show that Mr. Catalano had severe pneumonia with abscess formation in both lungs, but further studies are needed to determine if there are any other medical conditions that may have contributed to his death.

Fisher says the manner of death remains under investigation at this time.

RELATED STORY | State agencies and Cayce Police issue joint statement about displaced residents of care facility

Cayce officials released the following statement:

Cayce Officers were concerned over the living conditions they observed and are working closely with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), who regulates the assisted living facilities; and the Department of Social Services (DSS), as well as the families of the residents, to remove them and find safe placement elsewhere. There are approximately 14 residents at the facility that are in the process of being relocated to other safe facilities.

A spokesperson for the DSS said no residents have been admitted into the department’s care and those not picked up by families were being kept at Trinity Baptist Church Friday evening.

A July 2019 consent report from DHEC on Twilite Manor shows a history of prior investigations and numerous violations.

In the report, DHEC officials state that they conducted three complaint investigations in December 2017, July 2018 and October 2018 and two more routine inspections in January 2018 and August 2018 and found a total of 48 violations through the inspections.

Those violations include but are not limited to staff training, employment of an administrator, staff and resident assessments, incident reporting, resident records and individual care plans, resident monies, tuberculosis screening, medication administration and security of oxygen cylinders.

A document from DHEC states that the two parties had a meeting and agreed to resolve the matter with a consent order imposing a $19,600 monetary penalty. The facility agreed to pay $9,600 in multiple payments and agreed to attend a compliance assistance meeting with DHEC.

County and state records show Ronald Gunraj owns the facility. He did not return a request for comment.

DHEC released an official statement on Twilite Manor below:

DHEC was notified earlier today by local law enforcement of serious concerns at Twilite Manor, a community residential care facility (CRCF), licensed by DHEC. CRCFs are more commonly known as assisted living facilities.

DHEC staff went onsite at approximately noon after learning of local police activity to assess the facility’s compliance with DHEC regulations and to help ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the residents.

Upon visiting the facility, DHEC staff did not observe any conditions or practices that pose an immediate threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the residents. DHEC will issue its report of the visit next week.

DHEC did not order an evacuation of the facility and is not involved in placing or relocating residents. Local law enforcement may have more information on the relocation efforts.

DHEC issued the attached Consent Order against Twilite Manor in January 2022. As a term of the Consent Order, DHEC conducted a compliance assistance meeting with the facility on Feb. 15, as described in the attached report, and the identified administrative issues had been corrected.

Cayce officials say they are still working to investigate what happened:

The residents of Twilite Manor are family members, grandparents, parents, neighbors, and friends. Our officers were saddened to see their living conditions and took action to get them the medical and other assistance they needed. We will continue to work with DHEC, DSS and each of their families to ensure that the proper care and attention is provided to each one of them.

“We want to make sure that the environment that they’re living in is going to care for them and give them their needs and make sure that their needs are taken care of,” said Chief Chris Cowan.

Kimberly Tissot, President and CEO of Able SC which advocates for disability rights, says there should have been more communication between state and local agencies before moving residents.

“People with disabilities that were living in the facility did not get the opportunity to even tell them that they want to stay there. I do know that there has been a lot of trauma that has been caused by this situation because they had to leave their home. They lost a member of their household,” said Tissot.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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