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Joshua S.'s Story

Paoli, PA

My dad was a healthy, active 73 year old in good health who kept up with routine medical care. He had never before been hospitalized.

He was not a smoker and was not overweight.

One Protocol For All

“We have a protocol we follow.”

This is my dad, David's story of how hospital protocol killed him. He was hospitalized January 1 2022 until January 19th when he died in the hospital

Prior to getting Covid, my dad was a healthy, active 73 year old in good health who kept up with routine medical care. He had never before been hospitalized. He was not a smoker and was not overweight. He was the loving father of 4 sons and 9 grandchildren.

His hospital stay was horrible. He was treated differently as soon as they learned he had not been vaccinated. It seemed like they wanted him to die because he wasn’t vaccinated. Most doctors were very cold. They all said the same thing: “we have a protocol we follow”.


Dad got sick and tested positive for Covid with a home test on 12/21/21. He did what his doctors told him to do, which is stay home and rest. He continued to decline and went to Paoli Hospital Emergency Department via ambulance on 1/1/22. He was admitted immediately and told he would be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks minimum and he will be started on an experimental drug called Baricitinib.

My dad asked questions about the drug (Baricitinib)which irritated the doctors. He was told by the doctors that they are the experts, let them make the decisions. They told him he was ‘suffocating to death” and must take this experimental drug immediately. He agreed to take the drug under duress because he was told he was suffocating. We later learned from his pulmonologist, Dr. Reber, that he was not suffocating to death and he should not have been told that. He was lied to by multiple doctors and this is the reason he took a high risk experimental drug which he stopped once he learned he was lied to. This drug is known for high risk side effects of severe infection and the development of blood clots. This is what ultimately killed my dad: blood clots and lung infection.

My dad requested inhaled budesonide because of research he had done prior to getting sick. He was immediately told no, we don’t do that here, and we have a protocol we follow. The only option he was given besides standard care was the experimental drug Baricitinib.

Denied Proper Treatment

“My dad’s wishes for inhaled budesonide were refused until I wrote a demand letter.”

The hospital kicked me out after speaking to the doctors about my dad’s wishes. They said I was being kicked out because of Covid restrictions. I questioned whether they tested him for Covid which they couldn’t answer. The next day he was allowed a visitor a day only after 1 pm per hospital rules. I’m assuming he was negative for Covid by the time he went to the emergency department; no one ever gave us a reason why one day he was on Covid restrictions and the next day he wasn’t. It certainly seemed like they did not want to be inconvenienced by visitors or advocates who they might have to answer to.

My dad’s wishes for inhaled budesonide were refused until I wrote a demand letter to the Hospital Health System and CC’ed Pennsylvania representatives. Once they received the demand letter they finally agreed to minimal inhaled budesonide treatments. My dad immediately felt better with the treatments, he could now take deep breaths without coughing and his supplemental oxygen needs were going down while his blood oxygen saturation was going up. We requested an ethics consult which occurred regarding his care and wishes for increased Budesonide; the consult ended with the head of ethics telling us they have a protocol they follow and we are free to go to another facility. He was doing well with the Budesonide they agreed to give him. He was down from an initial 60 liters of high flow oxygen to 6 liters of low flow oxygen.

Fighting For His Life

“Any request was a fight.”

Either I or one of my brothers was in nearly every day to visit my dad and be an advocate for him while he was in the hospital. Any request was a fight. We are the ones who pushed and ultimately got him out of bed, on his feet exercising, and expanding his lungs on a daily basis which helped my dad feel better and breathe easier. The hospital wanted my dad in bed on his back.

On 1/8/22, no one was in to visit and my dad was on his back, in bed for over 24 hour. He declined drastically the next day with oxygen desaturating to 70%. It took about 2 days of being on his feet out of bed moving before he got back to where he was before being on his back for over 24 hours. A few days later, he was down to 6 liters of low flow oxygen and feeling good. We were all so thrilled and preparing to bring him home. We had a healthcare team set up to take care of Dad at his home as soon as we could get him out of that hospital.

The Error Leading To Death

The hospital made an error on the overnight shift from 1/14/21 to 1/15/22. Dad was without supplemental oxygen for 4.5 hours. He struggled all night until he finally got a staff into his room at 4 am. The hospital says it was due to the humidifier cup not being attached correctly for 4.5 hours. No one at the hospital wanted to talk about the incident or address it but they were all well aware of what had happened. It was not documented in his chart.

After this incident, he drastically declined until he died less than 4 days after this incident occurred. The hospital made no note of this in his chart. It was not at all addressed. When brought to their attention we were told he declined and died not from their error, but from Covid pneumonia.

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