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Heidi F.'s Story

Antioch, CA

Please let Dawn’s story hold a place in your heart. Remember it. Share it so the next person can be saved.

“Heidi, you have to get me out of here”.

She Trusted Them

“The morning she went in, I texted my cousin and told her I was worried she would never come out. She didn’t.”

The bond between sisters is like nothing else. My sister, Dawn, and I spent our lives together being each other’s strength. We experienced trauma of various types from very young ages through adulthood. When I received a phone call from her on August 14, 2021, terrified, I sprung into action to help her, as she would have done for me. Unfortunately, I was up against forces, the likes of which I’ve never seen, and on August 16, 2021, I lost my sister to these same forces.

Dawn was, and I stress the word “was," all trusting of doctors and the medical field in general. She was also terrified of Covid. She also suffered from terrible anxiety dating back to pre-covid days. Dawn was very pro the Covid vaccine but was hesitant to get it herself because she had once had a horrible reaction to the pneumonia vaccine. However, on July 22, 2021, she decided to get the Pfizer vaccine. Around this same time, she was feeling sick. What she first attributed to allergies got worse, and she eventually tested positive for Covid. After over a week, she wasn’t improving very much. She had had a fever for a week, along with severe stomach issues. About a week later she was getting worried about her breathing. She decided to order an oxygen monitor. At this point, her anxiety was at an all-time high. She had a horrible cough. She was exhausted and she panicked to the point that the three other people living in the house with her had to wear latex gloves and masks in the common areas. The oxygen monitor was reading around 90 during coughing fits, so she decided one morning to go to the place she felt could help her – Kaiser Hospital, Antioch, CA. She trusted these doctors. After all, they took the Hippocratic Oath didn’t, they? It only made sense that is where she should go. It was a safe space. A comfort for her. The morning she went in, I texted my cousin and told her I was worried she would never come out. She didn’t.

Get Me Out of Here

Dawn was in the ER for a while waiting for a bed. She was being admitted. Once admitted she was placed on oxygen, given steroids, and Remdesivir, cough medicine, and an anxiety medication. They also discontinued her daily regimen of zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D at that time. For about 7-10 days, Dawn remained on the covid floor being taken care of by her “angel nurses” who would monitor her oxygen, which was slowly getting lowered. Every time they would lower it, they would sit with her to make sure she reacted well and then they would leave. They would sit with her through panic attacks, which were getting more severe and more frequent. Despite the increasing panic attacks, her oxygen levels were improving, and she was slated to come home in a few more days.

Saturday morning everything changed. I got a phone call from my sister. I was expecting her to tell me they were getting ready to release her. I also thought the call was a little strange because we had only been texting all week. Well, I figured she was excited to be coming home finally. However, when I answered the phone, my heart sank. My sister, my best friend my entire life, without struggling to breath whatsoever, said to me, “Heidi, you have to get me out of here.

They are trying to kill me!” It was not preceded by a “hello," “hi," nothing. The conversation began that way. I will never forget her words. She pleaded with me that under no circumstances should I hang up the phone with her. I remained on the phone with her for three hours until my phone died, and we hung up only so I could call her from my husband’s phone.

She told me that she had had a really bad panic attack that night. Her nurse sat with her through the entire thing, gave her a sponge bath, and once the medicine kicked in, she was able to sleep. During the panic attack, her O2 levels went down, but once she had it under control it was back above 90. The nurse checked on her in the morning, things were still looking good, and she was still on track to go home in a couple of days. She took a nap after breakfast but was woken up from the nap. She was out of it with the sudden awakening, but thought she was being woken up for lunch. She was wrong. They told her they were putting her in the ICU. It was at that point that she instantly called me, still groggy from her nap. She had no idea what was happening or why, other than they were moving her. Once in the ICU, everything changed. Everything.

Held Hostage

“They took away all food and fluids, even refusing to give her IV fluids. She was hungry. She was thirsty.”

My sister, the same person who trusted the medical field completely, suddenly wanted out. My sister, who suffered from anxiety, was terrified. The angel nurses on the Covid floor were no longer taking care of her. She was now under the care of the nurses and doctors in the ICU, who instantly told her she needed to go on the ventilator. They even went so far as to repeatedly tell her that if she didn’t listen to them and do what they said that she was going to die. She begged and pleaded for me to come and get her. But they had us all scared. They told us that they would not give her oxygen if she left and that she would die during transport without the oxygen. We didn’t know what to do. Do we risk it? Do we trust these people? My sister wanted out so bad. These people were being so incredibly cold and heartless to her. She even thought maybe we could get a CPAP machine to use. She repeatedly refused the ventilator. Despite the refusal, they continued to prepare her for it. They took away all food and fluids, even refusing to give her IV fluids. She was hungry. She was thirsty. The only liquid she would get was a little cup of water when it was time to take her medication.

During the hours I spent on the phone with her that day, she would put me on speaker phone when the doctors would come in. She would tell me how the doctor would roll his eyes every time she did that. He probably rolled his eyes because I would question everything they were and weren't doing. I asked for ivermectin, antibodies, and I demanded her vitamins be given back to her. I was told they didn't administer the antibodies at Kaiser, and they don't believe any of those things, including the vitamins, are of any help. I demanded she be fed for crying out loud. This entire time, she was talking, and she had absolutely no shortness of breath. Why would she need a ventilator when she didn’t even struggle to breathe? This didn’t make sense. She wore glasses. She told me that even with the oxygen mask on, her glasses kept fogging and her hair was moving from all the O2 loss through the mask. She knew that she wasn’t even getting the full oxygen, and yet she was not struggling to breathe. As soon as she got into the ICU, she was also no longer able to see her oxygen monitor to know her levels. On the Covid floor, it was facing her and she could keep an eye on it. Once in the ICU, they had it turned away from her so she could never see what levels she was at. She knew she had been improving, but now she had no way of keeping track for herself.

My husband, my other sister, and I went on a mission. It was Saturday so we were up against what would prove to be an impossible situation. We began making phone call after phone call trying to find a hospital to take her to. We called Sutter, Stanford, urgent care centers, ambulatory transport centers. All of these places told us her doctor had to release her to get her transported. Her doctors were telling us that the other hospital would have to initiate the transfer. The ambulance companies told us they could only pick her up on the sidewalk if she was not released by her doctor. I have never felt so helpless in my entire life. Our only apparent option, because we were not allowed in the hospital due to covid restrictions, was to have Dawn walk out on her own, without oxygen.

Neglect, Abuse, and Malpractice

“She felt like she was a prisoner” and “being treated inhumanely.”

She was in a large hospital and had no idea where the exit even was from where she was. She had been in bed for 2 weeks at this point and had developed blood clots in her legs shortly after being admitted. She was being told repeatedly that if she left, she would die. Complete and total fear was being constantly pushed into her brain. “You’ll die if you don’t listen to us.” “You’ll die in the car during transport.” The narrative was constant.

We decided together that she would stay while we continued to make phone calls. The phone calls being made included the “patient advocate” at Kaiser who informed me that they weren’t actually an “advocate” because they were paid by Kaiser. The head nurse in charge who assured us she would help. Her only “help” given was going into Dawn’s room to tell her if she left, she would die. The social worker was supposed to bring in a Power of Attorney for Dawn to fill out and sign. All she did was email it to her. Dawn replied to that email stating she was in the ICU with no means to print anything and asked her to please bring her the paper. No response was ever received. I called the nurse’s station in the ICU requesting paperwork to be brought to her. Nothing ever came of this. Ever.

While this was going on, and in between phone calls, and after we finally gave up after 5 pm that day, I was on the phone with Dawn as much as possible the rest of the night. She was talking without shortness of breath. THE ENTIRE TIME! She was so hungry. She told me they would not give her food despite her asking and they had still refused to put her on an IV. In her own words, “she felt like she was a prisoner” and “being treated inhumanely.” The doctors kept coming in to talk to her about putting her on the vent, saying that was the only way to allow her body to properly recover. I was on the speaker numerous times, requesting at the very least she be given broth and water. I had her accepting of the broth because I told her it was better than nothing, had a lot of nutrition and that she needed that nutrition. I told her I knew she was so hungry and wanted more, but if all we could get was broth, that’s what we had to go with.

Eventually, in the morning they brought her, I believe, jello, but took it away before she even finished it. Saturday night, she told me that she had to get her anxiety under control, or she believed they would use it against her as an excuse to put her on the vent. During this time, she also became aware that when she coughed her oxygen would drop, but when her coughing stopped, it would be above 90 again. The entire time she was there, the oxygen never sustained a significant length of time below 90. Despite this, the ventilator was constantly being pushed on her.

What Was Happening?

I was witnessing my sister’s mistrust of the doctors and nurses growing at an exponential pace. That Saturday night, in the middle of the night, a nurse woke her up from sleeping and again she was told that if she didn’t do what they told her, she was going to die. My poor sister was told this numerous times while in the ICU by the doctors and nurses that were there to take care of her. In fact, at one point while she had my husband and me on speaker phone while her doctor was in the room with her, my husband asked the doctor what happened to the Hippocratic Oath he had sworn to, because he was clearly not abiding by it while ‘caring’ for my sister. That question, like so many others, went unanswered. This same doctor, on Sunday, August 15th, the day before my sister passed away, while trying to convince us that she needed to be intubated, said to my sister and me that her oxygen saturation was getting worse, she was not improving.

Shortly before that, my sister had been told by a nurse that it had actually gone up from the day before and this was in her chart. When I asked the doctor if he had actually looked at her chart, he told me yes, before he came in. I instructed him to really look at it again now, and he did. At that point, he had to admit that he was incorrect, and it actually had gone up. What was happening? Why was the doctor lying, why was he not reading the chart and telling us the complete opposite of what was actually in the chart? So, the Sunday, before she died, her oxygen had actually improved from the previous day, yet the ventilator was the only option being given to her.

At one point, after much demand from my sister and me, she was finally given some broth. She started sending us pictures of the state of the oxygen mask on her face. It was barely on. It must have mostly fallen off while she was eating the broth. No alarms sounded. She was not struggling to breathe. After she sent the pictures, she called to explain them to me. While talking to me, she was not gasping for air at all. Again, this is someone who needed to be placed on a ventilator? This just wasn’t making any sense.

Sunday night she was having a panic attack. She was waiting for her cough medicine. It had codeine, so it helped to calm her anxiety as well. It was too early for her to get it, so I stayed on the phone with her to walk her through her panic attack until it was time for her medicine.

Once she was given the medicine, I continued to talk to her until it kicked in. Once she was relaxed, we spent the next hour going through her bills. This was about three hours total. She was having a full conversation with me the entire time without struggling for air. Her biggest issue in breathing was her anxiety.

Sadly, we were going over her bills because she had come to the horrible feeling that she was going to have no option other than to go on the ventilator. She was preparing me to take care of things for a few weeks. That night, I set my alarm to wake her up when her medicine would probably be wearing off so I could be on the phone with her if she was having another panic attack. I would walk her through it until her medicine was administered and until she felt the relaxation from it. She texted me prior to my alarm going off. When it woke me up, I saw she was okay and that she felt like she would sleep. I did not disturb her. Monday morning, I got up and went to work. While there, I remember letting my boss know what was going on because I figured that I would be on the phone most of the day working on getting her out of there. I figured Saturday and Sunday, in addition to being up against the hospital and doctors, we were up against the weekend itself. I felt a renewed energy going into Monday. I knew we were up against a lot, but at least we had Monday on our side now.

Unfortunately, I got nowhere. Monday proved to be nothing but the same runaround. Meanwhile, my sister had been deprived of food, with the exception of a little broth and jello, water, and compassion for three days now. She was weak. She was terrified. She was defeated.

They Murdered Her

“She kept saying they were going to kill her.”

Shortly after I got home from work Monday, she called to talk about going on the vent. She was done fighting them. They had worn her down with dehydration, starvation, and fear. They had forced her into this corner. I supported her because I heard the desperation in her voice. I had never heard my sister so defeated. We got my son’s phone, we put the two phones on speaker. She spoke to her son, and my son and daughter. We had a big group call. She told everyone how much she loved them and that she would see them soon. She told me to take care of her family and to make sure to tell her story so that “they” never do this to anyone ever again. This was around 6/7pm on Monday, August 16, 2021. Shortly thereafter I got the phone call that my sister suffered a cardiac arrest after being placed on the vent. My sister, my big sister, my confidante, my friend, was gone.

It has taken me six months to tell her story. It was too painful, but I promised I would. I can’t make it clear enough how much Dawn trusted her doctors, all doctors. I witnessed firsthand this change instantly. She saw what was happening inside that hospital. She kept saying they were going to kill her. They kept telling her to do what they said or she was going to die. I suggested getting help from her Primary Care Physician. Dawn told me she worked on the covid floor too, and to quote Dawn, in her own words, “I don’t trust anyone on the covid floor anymore.” Looking back now, I question so many things. Things I didn’t know then. Why the Remdesivir? Why did they refuse to give her the vitamins she was accustomed to taking?

Vitamins we know help and at the very least don’t hurt. Why did they refuse to give her any food and water? Nutrition is essential to help her body fight. Why did they hold her prisoner? And most of all, why did they continually tell her to do what they say or she would die? The last three days of Dawn’s life were spent alone and in fear. They would not allow anyone in to comfort her or to advocate for her. I'll never forgive myself for just not going in and getting her. I hear her voice and her pleading in my head every single day. What was the worst they could have done? I would gladly have spent a couple of nights in jail to have my sister here with me today. They had me convinced she would die in my car as soon as she got in it, and I was not allowed to go help her out because it was too "dangerous." Oddly enough, when she was gone and only one machine kept her body from being fully gone, suddenly then it was okay for us to go in and look at her lifeless body through the window. Why was it suddenly safe now? Was it only safe because we could no longer advocate for her now that she was gone? If only they had let us in when she was alive, even just in the hallway then she would have known we were there, and she wasn’t alone.

Remember Dawn And Share Her Story

My sister Dawn had two sons. Her first grandchild was a mere 9 months old when she passed. She was so happy to be a grandma. Now her beautiful grandson will grow up not knowing the amazing person his grandma was. My son and daughter were so close with their Aunnie, as they called her. She never missed one of their soccer or football games, music recitals, or school events. She did miss my daughter’s first day of college. She had planned to be there on move-in day, but that came a couple of weeks after she passed. She missed her first marching band performance. She missed her grandson’s first birthday. And why? Why?

My sister was Dawn Marie. My sister was a victim of the lack of early treatment, possibly vaccine injured having suffered blood clots and having passed a mere three weeks after receiving her first Pfizer shot. She is a victim of an incredibly heartless and cruel hospital covid protocol. She was treated worse than a prisoner. She endured so much in her final days. Cruelty. Inhumane treatment by the very people who take an oath to do the very opposite.

Dawn made me promise to tell her story so it would not happen to another person. I can’t promise it won’t happen to anyone else, because I am hearing more and more of this same thing happening to so many others, but I can promise to share her story with others so hopefully, at least one person is saved. My sister was Dawn. This is her story.

Every day, I replay this in my head. If I knew then what I know now, I would have risked everything to get her out. I believe she would be here today if she had not gone into that hospital. I hear her voice every day. I replay those final 72 hours constantly. I still have two alarms set on my phone for 2:45am and 3:30am – the times I had set to wake up to help her through her panic attacks. This is my new reality. Life will never be the same. I have a hard time living with myself; I didn't do enough. I should have known what was happening. I should have saved my sister. I have so many regrets. I have so many demons in my head now. The one person who I would share my thoughts with, to help me get through, is gone because I couldn't save her. I let these doctors, administration, and ICU nurses convince me that I had no control, no power, and that I would be the cause of her death if I did anything. They had her lonely and scared in her final days. She was an amazing human being, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, friend, new grandmother, who deserved so much more. My new reality is a constant nightmare. My sister's life was cut short, unnecessarily, by deadly hospital covid protocols.

Please let Dawn’s story hold a place in your heart. Remember it. Share it so the next person can be saved.

See Heidi's Story on Podcast

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