Richard Pease, “Dick” was a devoted, Husband, Father, Grandfather, and friend.
The story of the failed medical system, malpractice, negligence, Covid smoke and mirrors, and his ultimate death.
My Father Became Ill
“By the time I arrived, it was clear that he had pneumonia and was in pretty terrible shape.”
This is the story of my father, Richard Louis Pease. It is the story of the failed medical system, malpractice, negligence, Covid smoke and mirrors, and his ultimate death. All of this information can also be found at www.rightthewrongsforrichard.com
In November 2021, myself and my family visited my dad as we did every year for thanksgiving. We had a wonderful, beautiful experience. Shortly after my return home, around December 1st, Dad reported that he had not been feeling well. I instructed him to do what I recommend to all of our patients in our wellness clinic: drink lots of water, take hot showers, and take Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, NAC, Quercetin, and Monolaurin. I also ordered a nebulizer for him to nebulize hydrogen peroxide. Unfortunately, he was feeling so bad, he did not do any of it. He laid in his bed, on his back, and let the infection set in. I realized I needed to get down to Naples, FL right away. By the time I arrived, it was clear that he had pneumonia and was in pretty terrible shape. His oxygen saturation was down to 75 so I started with the nebulizer treatment and could get it up to about 85 but it would go right back down. I was also able to start the supplement regimen but his condition continued to deteriorate and he was not progressing.
Below are the details of our 34-day ordeal.
Entering The Lion’s Den
On December 8th, his oxygen went down to 55 and would not increase so we realized we were in an emergency situation and needed to get to a hospital right away. Imagine watching someone you love suffocating in front of you with no relief. It is an image I will never get out of my head. So we headed to NCH Hospital in Downtown Naples, FL.
My husband and I have been warning people about this very thing and have helped many people stay out of the hospital with the aforementioned measures. I discussed with my dad what going to the hospital would mean…we were entering the Lion’s Den. He agreed that he wished to refuse a ventilator and Remdesivir. I was willing to fight hard to prevent these two things from happening. In a strange turn of events, the hospital discovered that my dad had a large bullous on his left lung, preventing him from being able to go on a b-pap machine or to be ventilated. He also had DVT that had been previously undiagnosed.
[Side note: my dad had been complaining of shortness of breath, feeling faint, and dizziness along with severe pain in his ankles and feet for several months prior. He went to his primary doctor who never detected the lung issue nor the DVT despite several visits and minimal testing. Also of note: My dad was unvaccinated. Had he received the vaccine with these pre-existing conditions, it would have likely killed him.]
Once I got the update from the nurse (not a doctor), I was able to go to the CCU. Because he tested positive for Covid, he was quarantined in a room with glass doors. Although I could see him, I could not be near him and it was difficult to communicate through the glass door.
Despite the condition he presented in, he started to improve. Once I got to the hospital, a nurse practitioner came to talk to me. She explained that my dad was in a dire situation and the prognosis was dismal. She also said, “I certainly hope this will make you rethink your decision and get vaccinated.” Obviously, this was not appropriate nor was it solicited. There was definitely a bias towards my dad and me and the whole floor knew it. I had to endure many comments and under-the-breath mumblings. I never spoke with or saw that nurse practitioner again. Instead, I had to ask repeatedly, over the course of days before I was able to talk to a doctor at all. The first doctor I talked to had similar sentiments.
My Dad Beat Covid
“I’ll say it again…my dad BEAT Covid! Hard stop!”
However, Dad continued to respond very well to the regular nose cannula for oxygen and was stable on 4 Liters of oxygen. He was not coughing, wheezing, or in any pain. The hospital documentation indicated the same. He was moving better, talking, and eating three meals a day. I was not able to bring in any outside food so he was a victim of poor nutrition from the hospital’s cafeteria. My dad had beat Covid! Despite being denied alternative treatments, supplementation, and proper nutrition.
[Side note: the food my dad was given during his stay was industrialized, processed, non-nutrient dense, garbage. I was not allowed to bring in outside food or supplementation that would have actually helped his healing. Instead, the food he received threw his blood sugar levels completely off to the point where the hospital labeled him as diabetic. This worked against his healing process. How are patients supposed to get well without proper nutrition?]
On December 15th, I spoke with another doctor who was much more positive and expressed that dad was doing so well that he would be transferred from the CCU to a regular floor the next day. I was obviously very excited. Our plan was to get him stable and get him out of the hospital as soon as possible. I’ll say it again…my dad BEAT Covid! Hard stop!
On December 16th, Dad was transferred to the 3rd floor north where he was quarantined due to his initial Covid positive test and I couldn’t see him. I requested that he be tested again because it had been over 10 days since he originally tested positive for Covid. They refused saying it was not part of their protocol. I was unable to see him, could barely talk to him because the phone service was so bad inside the hospital. I continued to call every single day but was unable to talk with a doctor frequently enough. For the next 6 days, I did not receive a call from a doctor. I did receive a call from a nurse practitioner but he was not able to give me much information. I finally received a call from a doctor who said Dad was continuing to improve, was on minimal oxygen, would have physical therapy, occupational therapy, and oxygen need assessment the next day but would likely be discharged.
The Premature Discharge
“He was not breathing well, barely able to talk, and indicated that he felt “terrible” and had reported to the nurse and doctor that he was not feeling well enough to go home.”
On December 22nd, I received a call that Dad would be discharged and I was elated. Remember, I hadn’t been able to see him and had no idea what his condition was but depended on hospital staff to make the proper assessments. Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to see my dad slumped in a wheelchair, in his hospital gown, still stained by his lunch, rolled towards the car. The male nurse and I were barely able to get him in the car! He had a portable oxygen unit with him that had to be shoved onto his lap. I quickly realized we were in real trouble. I also realized that whatever had happened to him on the third floor, made his condition deteriorate considerably. Again, my hopes for getting him home and on the road to full recovery were thwarted.
He was not breathing well, barely able to talk, and indicated that he felt “terrible” and had reported to the nurse and doctor that he was not feeling well enough to go home. NO discharge instructions were given, written or verbal, nor was I given any medications or prescriptions. My dad was hurting and panicked because he knew he wouldn’t be able to get into the house. After all, there were stairs going up to his home and he could not walk. My daughter and I had to carry him inside the house. Had my daughter not been there, I do not know what I would have done. She and I were shocked that he was released in this condition.
There was an oxygen compressor delivered to the house but no instructions about when to switch my father from the portable tank to the bedside machine were given, nor were instructions on how to set it up. We had no necessary equipment to care for someone in this condition. I had to send my daughter to get a portable toilet, and we had to call around to try to find an adjustable hospital bed as he could not sit up on his own. When I checked his oxygen level upon arriving at the house, it was 75 which is obviously very low. Because I had not been able to visit him for the 6 days prior due to the hospital’s Covid protocols, I was not
able to observe his condition and depended on the doctors, nurses, and staff to make a valid determination. Had I seen him, I would have assuredly refused discharge and/or asked that he be transferred to a rehabilitation center. He was in great need of physical therapy and constant attention.
I spent the entire next morning calling the hospital for information and trying to secure my father’s prescriptions (even though I may not have given him any of them, I didn’t even know what they had him on and if they could or should be stopped cold turkey), all while trying to attend to his constant needs.
I also had to call the home health agency and try to expedite a nurse myself because they
told me 48 hours was customary and that a nurse would only be coming every three days. My father needed full-time care right away! As I mentioned, he could not walk or do anything for himself. I, nor my daughter are nurses or healthcare professionals. Also, recall that we were given no direction or discharge instructions. I called and spoke with a nurse who attempted to give me instructions over the phone and fully admitted that he had “dropped the ball” in not giving them to me upon discharge. At that time, I also expressed to him that money was not an object and I wanted a full-time home health nurse to help care for my father. I was assured that I would receive a call back from a doctor but never received one. I did receive a few calls from the charge nurse who was not only less than helpful but even became somewhat combative with me. In one of my many calls, I filed a grievance with the Patient Advocate. Subsequently, their response was extremely lacking, took no accountability, and was downright insulting.
“My dad told me that he had to be resuscitated three times in the ambulance.”
While I was still making non-stop phone calls, including to file a grievance with the hospital’s Patient Advocate, my father’s oxygen continued to decline and I had to call 911 the very next day because his oxygen dropped to 55 the day after his discharge and he was transported back to the hospital. I was right back to square one. His oxygen was right back to where it was the day I took him to the hospital for the first time and I again had to watch him suffer. He could not breathe! I had suspected that the bullous in his lung had burst.
We followed the hospital to the Emergency Room and after waiting about an hour, a doctor came out and reported that my suspicions were correct and the bullous in his lung had burst, causing the lung to collapse and that he had inserted a chest tube. He also indicated that there was a massive infection outside of my father’s lungs. Obviously, this infection existed at the time he was released. The hospital should have detected this level of infection so it adds to the negligence in moving forward with his release. I am also unsure of when the bullous burst. It likely could have happened when he was still at the hospital because he presented at 75 oxygen level upon discharge. I found out later from the hospital records that they had also given him Actemra on the day of his first admission to the hospital. This drug drastically affects the immune system and leaves you much more prone to serious and fatal infections. That is one of the major problems with the system. I, as power of attorney and health surrogate, was not told what drugs he was being given throughout his stay.
I was escorted to a room and told that a doctor would be with me shortly but I waited an hour and 45 minutes by myself with no word. I was thinking that they were still working on my dad or that he had died. Finally, a doctor said I could see my dad. I walked into the room where he was sitting up in the bed. He lit up when he saw me and was alert and talking. I couldn’t help but notice the condition of the room. It looked like a war zone. It was apparent that they did work on my dad for quite a while and in the midst of a massive crisis. My dad told me that he had to be resuscitated three times in the ambulance. He remembered vividly them yelling, “Clear” and using the paddles three different times. I have no idea how he could have remembered this experience and had the ability to tell me about it but that was my dad. Incredible!
[Sidebar: My feelings about his care and the hospital are in a state of duality. There were phenomenal people involved with his care who, no doubt, saved his life in times of crisis! The paramedics saved his life and the ER doctor and staff saved his life. I am eternally grateful for all of them. The CCU staff was overall top-notch and, barring a few, I appreciate them so much. My feelings are that these people and units saved my dad’s life while the others were trying to kill him. Duality]
CCU - Part 2
Dad was brought back up to the CCU where I at least had some pre-existing relationships with the staff. I continually asked questions, asked to speak to a doctor but it was often like pulling teeth. Another major problem with hospital systems is the parade of ever-changing nurses, doctors, and staff. There is no consistency of care. Remarkably, my dad AGAIN rebounded. Even after this near-death experience due to a premature discharge from the hospital, he continued to improve.
The infection detected by the ER doctor was draining massive amounts of fluid and as each day passed, dad felt better and better. The hospital’s own records indicated “respiratory status significantly improved.”
Back to the Belly of the Beast
“On this particular day, my dad was in the chair for six hours.”
The next day, he was transferred to the 6th floor of the hospital. I expressed concern after our last experience being moved out of the CCU. I was assured that this floor was perfect for my dad and his condition. I noticed that the container collecting the fluid was bubbling (where it hadn’t been before). The nurse told me that it meant that there was an air leak in the tube. Indeed, the records indicate such.
On December 28th, my dad reported that a nurse had come in with a heating pad for under his arm. We are still unsure of the purpose but the pad was too hot and burned my dad’s underarm and chest. He said another nurse came in and reprimanded the other nurse and
took pictures of the burns. However, this is not in any of the hospital records.
The chest tube continued to have an air leak so they replaced the tube trying to remedy the situation. I was able to talk with an infectious disease doctor who indicated that there were no longer any signs of infection and the fluid drainage was minimal so I didn’t worry too much about the bubbling that continued.
On December 29th, my brother, my daughter, and I went to the hospital on one of our three daily visits to find chaos erupting around my dad’s room. It was commonplace for the nurses to move my dad from the bed to a chair at least once a day. While this was a good thing in terms of improving his mobility, he would start to deteriorate if he sat in the chair too long. He and I expressed this to the staff many times. On this particular day, my dad was in the chair for six hours. He called the nurse's station three times with no response. As a result, he had a cardiac event where his heart rate went up to 200bpm sustained. The doctor was able to stabilize him with medications and he again bounced back despite another error on the part of the hospital.
Even after that event, his oxygen needs went down to 2 Liters. I kept asking to speak with a pulmonologist for a prognosis and plan and was never able to. I again was trying to figure out how to get my dad home as soon as possible.
Another Catastrophic Event
On January 5th, I received an urgent call from the doctor that my dad had taken a turn for the worse. This was the same doctor who had called me to report how well my dad was doing. I knew something significant must have happened but didn’t find out until I arrived back at the hospital.
Dad’s chest tube had dislodged causing his lung to collapse AGAIN!. How does this happen under the care of hospital staff? Dad wasn’t even moving a lot and was having daily x-rays but no one prevented this catastrophic event. The hospital records indicated that the tube had been “retracted slightly but at least some of the side holes are outside the pleural space.” It also went on to say that there were, “ongoing issues on the management of the chest tube even after replacement.”
CCU - Part 3
“I, as the power of attorney and health surrogate, was not given informed consent as to the course of treatment.”
I arrived at the hospital just as a doctor was getting ready to place a second chest tube in my dad. He said the situation was grim but would update me afterward.
He explained the direness of the situation and the best hope was that my dad’s lung would inflate and get him back to where he was. As expected, he blamed the situation on Covid without any thought or mention of the many screwups the hospital caused.
Although the second chest tube was inserted and his lung re-inflated, he still did not improve. In another shocking discovery, a nurse practitioner came into the room and noticed
that the new chest tube was not connected to suction. (we have pictures of all of this). This is another major mistake on the hospital’s part. Had it been suctioning appropriately, it may have improved my dad’s condition. We will never know.
I, as the power of attorney and health surrogate, was not given informed consent as to the course of treatment. I was never informed of the plan or prognosis, which medications he was on, and had no ability to suggest alternate courses of treatment. This is completely unacceptable.
Dad was not on 40 Liters of high flow oxygen where he had been on 2 liters just the day prior. The hospital’s negligence did that to him. He was not able to be stepped down at all for several days. 40 Liters of oxygen is a tremendous amount and made any attempt at moving him and/or getting him out of the hospital impossible.
Ending The Suffering
We quickly realized that the situation had deteriorated and that my dad was suffering immensely. In an even more traumatic turn of events, my strong, steadfast, never rattled father started having panic attacks, no doubt from the brew of chemical cocktails they were giving him. This was immensely heartbreaking for my brother and me. In addition to the panic attacks, the medications flip-flopped him from a state of anxiety to a zombie-like state and back again. It was too much to bear.
Our attempts to get him stable enough to get him the hell out of that hospital had failed at each screw up at the hospital. They had killed him. He beat Covid, beat the odds, came back from the dead but they took him out anyway.
Well Done Good and Faithful Servant
“Richard had the ability to make an impact on every single person he met.”
The hospital staff finally conceded to our pleas to take him off of the mind-altering medications so that we could have our last conversations with our father. For two days, my dad was perfectly coherent and able to express his wishes. There had been nothing left unsaid between all three of us and we just spent the time in each other’s company.
[Side note: if you have disagreements or are in a state of unforgiveness with family members, remedy it this instant. I cannot even imagine having to deal with those sorts of issues in the midst of this process.]
My dad’s obituary explains his life in more detail. Richard Pease, “Dick” as he was known to friends and family, age 75, left his earthly body on January 10th, 2021. He is survived by his sister, Shelvey Johnson and her husband Bruce Johnson of Orlando, his daughter Kimberly Roberto and her husband Fred of Atlanta, and his son, Michael Pease and his wife Emily of Charlotte, and his six grandchildren: James, Halle, Ricky, Lauren, Allison, and Tyler.
Dick died in the hospital of pulmonary failure after 35 days in the hospital. His children stayed in Florida with him as advocates for his health and his care at the hospital. He turned the corner to health several times but endured setback after setback that ultimately resulted in his death.
Dick was a cradle Catholic and attended St. William Catholic Church in Naples, FL. He received the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at the hospital. Services will be at St. William on Friday, January 21st at 10:30 AM and interment immediately following at Naples Memorial Garden where his wife was laid to rest in 2019.
Dick was born in Meadville, PA where, as a grade-schooler, he met his future wife Linda Silverthorn. They were happily married for over 50 years. He went to Grove City College and received his Masters from Syracuse University, both resulting in electrical engineering degrees. He began working for General Electric right after graduation and loyally remained with them for 38 years until retirement. He became a titan of industry and retired as Vice President of General Electric Corporation, with the majority of that time under Jack Welch.
He remained close to many of his peers, co-workers, and those who worked with and under him all the way to present day. Many of them share great stories of working together. There is a fitting story of Dick and his team being in a particularly grueling meeting with Jack Welch. As the story goes (as reported by those in attendance), Jack proceeded to tear Dick
limb from limb. When they left the meeting, there were mutterings and grumblings about how rough the meeting was to which Dick replied, “he didn’t even get to lay a glove on me.” This was Dick. He never became discouraged or derailed, ever. He prided himself on his hard work and determination and both were constant themes throughout his life.
Almost to the day of his retirement, his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and God gave Dick a brand new job- becoming a full-time caretaker. Just like everything he did, he excelled at it. He tended to her every need: bathing, feeding, changing clothes, combing her hair, polishing her toenails, and talking to her even though for the last 8 of her 14-year battle, she couldn’t respond back to him. He used his engineering mind to redesign, improve and re-engineer things like ramps, seats, chairs, food preparation, transport, and anything that would make taking care of his wife easier. He never asked “why me?”, not ever. He just walked up to the task at hand and handled it. It was quite inspiring to witness.
Part of his success can be attributed to his use of the checklist. Yes, the handwritten checklist. (This is a secret many should try to replicate in their own lives). He was an ultra-organized person and utilized checklists for everything. His children have been finding checklists, notes and perfectly ordered details tucked away throughout the house.
One of his most fitting nicknames was Macgyver because he could literally fix ANYTHING. He would make lists of the things he was able to successfully fix and it was quite impressive. His children, his friends, and his neighbors marveled at this unique ability. Sadly, he remarked in the hospital that his lung was the only thing he wasn’t able to fix. He had an extreme love of cars so this skill came in very handy.
Richard had the ability to make an impact on every single person he met. People that only met him briefly would comment on what a good man he was. He was an amazing husband, brother, father, employer, friend, and neighbor. His friendships were long-lasting and deep and he was able to maintain them for decades, even when faced with the monumental task of caring for his wife.
He will be missed dearly but his friends and family find comfort in the fact that his reward in heaven will be great. They are certain that he will hear the words that everyone longs to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
My brother and I documented every single thing that happened at that hospital. We have names, dates, records, and notes. We have everything. It was our full intention to file a wrongful death/malpractice claim against NCH hospital and consulted with three prominent South Florida attorneys.
As a final blow, we were informed that the state of Florida has a law that if a deceased individual does not have a surviving spouse or dependents under the age of 25, no wrongful death or malpractice claims can be filed. Yes, you heard that right. My dad’s life means nothing in the eyes of the state. The last attorney we spoke with referred to it as the “free kill law.”
Obviously, this has been a roller coaster. We will continue to honor my father's life and remain strong as per his final request. However, my resolve is even stronger to teach people the principles of health, to keep people from entering this broken system, to warn people of the dangers, to make positive change, and to work towards getting this law changed. I do not know where the path will lead but I will not keep fighting for what is right.