Boca Raton, Florida
My sweet loving father who was adored by our family passed away on September 12th,2021.
My dad kept saying he felt fine and didn’t want to go.
Signs Of A Cold
“ If I knew what I know now, I would not have called an ambulance.”
I still have a hard time even saying the word died with my father in the same sentence. My sweet loving father who was adored by our family passed away on September 12th,2021. The worst day of my life. My dad James was 81 years old and married to my mother for 57 years. He has two daughters, my sister and me. He has five grandchildren that were extremely close to him. We went all the way until July of 2021 with no Covid. My dad started showing signs of a cold. He was stuffy, tired, and coughing. He was eating fine, with no temperature, and moving around like normal. It wasn’t until we tested his pulse oxygen that we were concerned. It was in the low 90’s. He has sleep apnea, and for all I know that could have been low normal for him. If I knew what I know now, I would not have called an ambulance. It went down to 89 and his Dr. said to call the paramedics. My dad kept saying he felt fine and didn’t want to go. I wish I listened. They took him to St. Joseph’s Emory hospital in Sandy Springs, GA. After hearing nothing from anyone for 24 hours and 15 plus phone calls from our family we finally got to speak to a nurse. He was admitted on the Covid floor and tested positive. They said his lungs were the best on the floor. I was encouraged by his chest X-ray. At that point, I was thinking he needed some oxygen and would be home soon. He was put on 6 ml of oxygen. He was being weaned off every day.
There was little to no communication other than us calling constantly and being asked not to call so much. I finally after two-plus days got to speak to a Dr. and he told me that my dad had severe Covid and possible pneumonia. He said they would start treating him with Remdesivir and other treatments. No antibiotics and no vitamins even though we had requested it. I told the Dr. that he was on Quercetin, Zinc, D3, and C and to please continue. He said that is not the protocol and those do nothing. I requested Ivermectin and the Dr. said "Absolutely not. It is an experimental drug. "I said to him that we DO NOT want him getting Remdesivir under any circumstances, that I felt that was an experimental drug and causes kidney failure. The Dr. said that I was going to make my dad worse by not allowing the treatment. I tried to sneak Ivermectin into his room by dropping off a bag for him. He was too nervous to take it and I felt so bad for him. His trajectory was a few more days in the hospital and he would be home so I figured we could give it to him at home. Keep in mind that we had to call multiple times an hour to get any update. The nurse would get annoyed and ask that only one family member call. That day I was surprised when the Dr. called. He said that my dad was requesting Remdesivir and that my dad is his patient, not me and he will listen to him. When I talked to my dad he was very scared. The Dr. told him that I was holding back his treatment and he could get a lot worse if he didn’t get Remdesivir. At that point, there was nothing I could do. I would be responsible, God forbid if anything were to happen. So he started Remdesivir. His lungs looked good and he weaned down to 2 ml of oxygen. They projected he would come home on Friday.
“My dad said he hasn’t had oxygen since 11:00 when they took it out.”
I was surprised on Thursday to get a call from my dad saying he was being discharged that day. I got a call from him telling me to come get him at 5 pm. I got there and had to wait outside because of Covid restrictions. So I sat in the car for 2 hours. At the same time, my dad was calling me telling me that he was sitting there with no one since 11:00 am and no one would answer him. I kept calling the hospital no one had time to talk. He was wheeled out at around 6:45 pm. He had no oxygen and I asked the tech why. The tech said, “I know nothing, I’m just a tech.” I asked for discharge instructions. The tech had no clue. My dad had no clue. I was handed a box and told by the tech he was unsure what it was. My dad said he hasn’t had oxygen since 11:00 when they took it out. He was coughing something terrible. I got him home and tried to understand what to give him. We immediately called the hospital. They had to call us back. I figured out the box was oxygen. After looking for a nose cannula I finally found one and a discharge sheet saying he was discharged on 2 ml. I tried to figure out this box of oxygen and did. After an hour it would get very hot and the plastic holder would pop off the side. We would constantly go in and see he had no oxygen. His pulse ox dropped to the low 90’s every time it came out. My dad has sleep apnea so he needed a mask while sleeping. I called the hospital and demanded to speak to someone. Finally, they said to call the company that gave the oxygen. They said my dad was given discharge instructions. I explained that he didn’t remember and we asked to be called at that time. I asked about his cough and was told he was given a prescription for cough syrup with codeine. No antibiotics. I asked for them again and was told it’s viral, it will do nothing.
Calling the Paramedics
Fast forward a few days of my dad hacking up a lung and now spiking a fever. I got him a mask and he needed 3 ml of oxygen to keep him in the 90s. Every time he would sleep his mask would go off and his pulse ox would drop. I did not know what to do. He then fell in the shower when trying to go to the bathroom. At that point, I called the paramedics. That was the worst mistake of my life. They took him back to the hospital his pulse ox was in the high 70’s without a mask. His cough was so bad that the oxygen would fall off. I had called the company to get a new machine and was told it would take days. We still had the old machine. The new one came at the same time the ambulance was there. I will never forget my dad being mad at me for calling the ambulance. The paramedics wheeled him out and the sun hit his face for the last time. I felt my stomach drop as they drove away.
A Drastic Change in the ER
After many hours (around 10) we were able to speak to a nurse regarding my Dad. They said he had Covid pneumonia and was in the ICU. They said he is requiring 80 percent oxygen. We were not allowed to see him. Their policy is 21 days from the original positive test. I received messages from my dad telling me or demanding me to get him the hell out of there. He said he was put in a room alone and no one helps him. He was sitting in his own feces for hours. He was upset at me for not getting him out. That part broke my heart. He was isolated and alone. We called and called and were told we were bothering the nurses. We got one update a day. Every call was worse than the other. We asked them to charge my dad's phone. He never picked up. They put him on a high-flow Oxygen BiPAP. After about 5 days of getting the same update and nurses telling me that my father did not want to speak to anyone, I finally spoke to a male nurse. He told me that he cleaned up my dad. He said he hadn’t been cleaned and he had something stuck inside his mouth that he did not know what it was. It took him 50 minutes to cleanout. I begged him to have him talk to me. I asked him to play music he likes for him. He said the first thing my dad asked him was, “ Am I going to die?” The nurse told him it’s not looking good. I was very upset anyone would tell him this. All of his vitals were good. The oxygen baffled me how he was staying in the 90s at home with a portable box that barely worked to 100 percent BiPAP. I asked to speak to a head Dr. this time demanded. There was no head Dr. he had a different one every day.
The nurse said my dad wanted to FaceTime us the next day. I was at work and I saw on my phone a FaceTime call from daddy. I hurried and answered. I see the face of a Dr. in PPE that looked like the movie ET. She said we need to ventilate him. Those words sent me into a horrible panic attack. I asked to see him, his face was swollen with a BiPAP on and he looked horrible. She said if we don’t ventilate him he’s going to die. I yelled at her and said, “Get out of his room!!!” You don’t need to say this in front of him. She said, “ He’s my patient and he is coherent.” I told her I had medical power of attorney and to speak to his family first. I asked her if anyone at that hospital understood that being isolated with no hope kills the will to live? That is exactly what they did to him. They had him DOA. I told her to put the phone to him. I said, “Daddy, I can see you in one day!” “Hang on until I get there and I will help you!” He shook his head. My family decided we were not venting him. I asked the Dr. what the chances of him coming off were and she said zero. I counted every second until we could see him.
Visiting Unacceptable Conditions
I went there and they treated me like I had the plague. They asked about my vaccination status. I went into a room of filth and disgust. My dad lost so much weight and was miserable. He said he can’t stand the BiPAP. I asked the nurse if they ever even tried to wean him off. They said they did and his numbers drop. I asked for a nose cannula and rebreather. I washed my dad from head to toe. I asked his room to be sanitized. He had blood in his sink. Urine in his toilet, mucus back up in a suction device, and his BiPAP was so dirty. When they came in to do a breathing treatment the cap was filthy. I asked the nurse if she ever changes it and she said, “my bad” his poor mouth was so infected from what I guessed was the BiPAP. They said he couldn’t have an IV in case fluid would go to his lungs. They basically gave him no nutrition. We demanded it and they finally gave it through iv. He was suffering and they said he could have one ice chip an hour. That was torture. He was begging me. I asked why they are not having him walk or do physical therapy or anything. Everyone one of them made him feel like there was no hope. I told him there was hope. I guess I gave him false hope but boy did that work. I got him down to 70 percent oxygen. I left to get a drink come back he’s on 100 percent, every single time. We told them we felt they were killing him. We would work so hard to get him to care, and he would, only leave and come back with him right back on 100 percent. Every day was worse news. Now he had double pneumonia and no longer Covid but the damage to his lungs that Covid did.
We Tried Everything
Every doctor said we should get comfort care. They said he was in kidney failure. What a surprise. We met with the hospital to give our formal complaint. They admitted they had made a lot of mistakes. Now he needed a feeding tube. They stuck it down him and it hurt him so bad. The next day they said there was an issue with the tube and took it out. My sister asked when it was being put back in. My dad refused it. The nurse looked at my dad and said, “Remember our talk you do not have to get the feeding tube.” My sister went off on her. She asked her if he would die without it. The nurse said yes. My sister and brother-in-law got it back in for him. The next couple of days my dad started disconnecting from us. Sleeping the entire time. Oh, they kept giving him morphine. He asked me to tell them no morphine but they said he was starved for oxygen and that helped. We all spent every moment we could with him to monitor the lack of care. Finally, when I saw he gave up, I cried to him and said Daddy I need you. He had no response. For me, I knew he was disconnecting and it was too much for him. We had to go to comfort care. The sad part was they did an echo and his heart was great. He had no nutrition or hydration which in itself would kill anyone. In between all this, we fought to get other treatments. Ivermectin, monoclonal antibodies. A transfer out of that hospital all to no avail. I asked why there was nothing done for his mouth. They said we can order magic mouthwash. Why the hell wasn’t that ordered 10 days ago?!!!!! Comfort care was basically euthanasia. On September 12th I had to watch them give my father high lethal doses of morphine and whatever else. They took off his oxygen and my mom had to leave when he started gasping for air. My sister and I stayed until the end. I squeezed his hand tight, pushed my head up to his, and sang in his ear. We are completely heartbroken and traumatized. I have a letter from the hospital saying they sent him home too early and will use this mistake as a learning experience.