There has been a lot of misinformation making the rounds about Coronavirus. It can be daunting to keep up with the changes, especially when one credible source conflicts with another. Some of the reasoning behind the varied data is that scientists and medical professionals are learning as we go, which means changes to protocols as new findings are revealed. Not everyone is being honest, however, about their findings and needs.
Landmark Hospital in Athens, Georgia is being sued by a group of nurses who claim their CEO has actively engaged in covering up positive COVID-19 tests. In an attempt to make it appear that the virus is not spreading at the rate claimed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), the nurses allege, administrators are “fabricating inaccurate COVID-19 tests results, transferring and discharging patients to outside facilities and admitting patients to Landmark.” Specifically, after five patients tested positive, proper protocols were abandoned in order to increase the likelihood of obtaining a negative COVID-19 result after retesting those same patients.
Landmark appears to be facilitating the spread of coronavirus
Landmark Hospital has six critical care locations spread between Georgia, Missouri, and Florida, with capacities ranging from 30 to 50 beds per hospital. Their smaller size and purpose places them on a similar level to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where coronavirus has been known to run rampant. Because long-term care facilities have limited occupancy, they increase revenue by keeping beds filled.
The Athens branch of Landmark is a 42-bed facility, making it financially imperative that they maintain full occupancy. Nurses allege that because the CEO has been manipulating the COVID-19 numbers, it has resulted in:
- Continued transferring and discharging of positive or exposed patients to outside facilities where they may spread coronavirus;
- Admitting new patients to a facility without accurate disclosure about coronavirus risks;
- Unnecessary exposure of the nurses to COVID-19 due to Landmark’s false patient medical data; and
- Consistent billing to Medicare for services rendered.
Putting patients at risk for financial gain
Landmark Hospital exists to provide care for already medically vulnerable individuals who need further treatment outside what a traditional hospital can provide. The actions taken by Landmark may have detrimental effects on the health of these patients, and in some cases it may even cause their deaths.
Had Landmark been transparent about their patients testing positive for COVID-19, it would have been made public. With publicity comes more stringent safety protocols and data tracking. That would have resulted in lower hospital admissions and revenue.
Landmark is not alone in trying to keep their coronavirus statistics quiet. Hospitals around the country have been very careful about the information they release to the public about their own cases of COVID-19 for the very same reason – money.
The danger of manipulating coronavirus test results
COVID-19 is best tested by securing a sample through using a deep nasal cavity swab procedure. When the tests on Landmark’s patients came back positive, the nurses allege that a senior member of management directed them to take samples for retesting from tracheal swabs instead.
Almost every patient at the Athens location was already on a respirator related to the medical condition with which they were admitted. When nearly 12% of infected patients are in contact with nurses who receive no personal protective equipment, it creates a much higher risk of wrongful death for every other patient in the facility.
If you or someone you know has been injured or infected with coronavirus or another disease during a stay in a nursing home or hospital, McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC wants to see you through this difficult time. You deserve professional legal help designed to protect you and your family from further harm. To schedule your free consultation with one of our injury attorneys, please call 803-327-7800, or we welcome you to reach out to us through our contact page. We maintain offices throughout South Carolina.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood