85
      Tuesday
      89 / 72
      Wednesday
      90 / 73
      Thursday
      90 / 72

      Lawmakers looking for answers after tuberculosis outbreak

      South Carolina senators are set to question the director of the state's public health agency about its botched investigation into a tuberculosis outbreak in Greenwood County.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH/AP) -- South Carolina senators questioned the director of the state's public health agency about its botched investigation into a tuberculosis outbreak in Greenwood County.

      "We have very concerned parents in Greenwood and they want to make sure that there voices are heard," said Orangeburg State Senator Brad Hutto.

      The meeting came less than 24 hours after the Department of Health and Environmental Control said they were looking for a man that left Palmetto Health Richland after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.

      DHEC spokesperson Mark Plowden said the man did not have the necessary prescription medication with him.

      That man Louis Rainone, 57, was located by health care professionals Wednesday in Lumberton, NC, after he reportedly walked into a hospital and asked for his medicines.

      He was recognized by hospital staff and is being treated. He has been placed under secure watch, according to officials at the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

      Thursday the Senate Medical Affairs Committee looked into why it took more than two months for the agency to notify the public and begin testing children after health officials learned that a school janitor had the contagious disease.

      DHEC director Catherine Templeton has acknowledged the agency messed up.

      "I am sorry I've said I was sorry to the people of 96, that they had to deal with this, that they were afraid," said Templeton.

      Templeton fired several employees because of the missteps, saying they violated policies and didn't consider the situation urgent.

      Templeton was grilled for hours by lawmakers, questioning the agencies response to the potential health crisis and why she wasn't aware of the TB outbreak until mid May.

      "You want to paint me as incompetent because I am part of the Governors detail, but I think that I can say and I have other nurses say it on the ground, I've had nurses thank me on the ground since this happened and I've had other administrators and mangers in this agency say if this happened before you got here, we would still not have a solution," adds Templeton.

      A dozen people are being treated.

      Tuberculosis is a very contagious respiratory condition, and it can be deadly if not treated properly.