My dad always said, "Don't let a loved one go to the hospital and if they have to go to the hospital, don't let them be alone."
Covid protocol killed my dad in May 2021.
No Informed Consent
“Within a few hours, Dad was much much worse.”
After being sick with what seemed like a very bad cold for 9 or 10 days, my dad went to see his primary physician on Friday 5/7/2021. His 02 was 89, his bp was good and he didn't have a fever. The doctor noted that his chest was clear. They opted to give him antibody treatment. He was not informed that this was an EUA nor that it had the chance of making him worse. By the treatment website, my dad probably should not have received the antibodies, but instead should have been given 02 therapy. At the infusion, the nurse also did not inform him of its EUA status nor of the risks. She also noted his 02 at 89, his bp and temperature normal and a clear chest/lungs.
Within a few hours, Dad was much much worse. Shaking, feverish, very weak and 02 at 82. We took him to ER who immediately started him on Remdesivir even though his GFR was only 25 and Remdesivir is contraindicated for anyone with GFR under 30. His labs showed that he was likely septic but no antibiotics or other therapies to combat sepsis were given. Dad had bad sleep apnea, and upon admission, we asked if we should bring his mask. We were told no. We were also told no on Saturday but finally on Sunday they told us to bring his mask.
Many Doctors, No Results
Sunday, the primary requested a cardiology consult. Cardiology came and said that his heart was good and nothing in the tests indicated a consult was necessary. Sunday, infectious disease finally came and noted that he was not on any antibiotics but that he "would probably benefit from empirical antibiotic therapy." None were started.
Since admission, his inflammation and infection numbers continued to go up as did his pro-time, showing that his blood was very very thin. On Monday morning, the primary finally ordered antibiotics. Dad was exhausted and not sleeping well because the respiratory department and nurses still haven't been able to make his mask work with the 02.
Monday afternoon, OT, PT and Speech Therapy visit my dad. Why? We're still unsure. Respiratory therapy never gave him a spirometer nor an aerobika to help with his lung capacity. No percussion, no positioning, no getting up. His O2 is in the low 90s and he was on high flow O2. The last time any of us spoke to my dad was around 9pm that night. He was tired and wanted to go to bed but the nurse wanted him to stay up until it's time for his meds.
Sedating and Side Effects
“ They sedated him because he wouldn't keep the mask on.”
Early Tuesday morning, around 1am, the nurse called his primary and asked to give him something to relax because he's agitated with the high-flow mask. Doctor orders seroquel and ativan. Seven hours later, they started him on precedex and zyprexa.
Dad remained sedated and on high-flow for the remainder of his time in the hospital. We never heard his voice again, never got to touch him. Doctors never called us. My mom and I talked to the nurses 2-3 times a day. They told us how dad was improving and they hoped to turn down the sedation. Day after day this was what we were told.
On Tuesday 5/11, my mom talked to the primary who told her dad was improving but now had a UTI and they sedated him because he wouldn't keep the mask on. But they're hopeful that will change. That's the last time we talked to the primary because they removed themselves from the case and an Intensivist came on but never called us.
Then they also put him on trazodone to keep him sedated. His heart was starting to do funny things (side effects of the drugs he was on) and his kidneys were starting to struggle.
Finally Allowed to See Him
“Finally someone let us come see my dad through the glass.”
After 5/13 (day 6) there were no more visits from infectious disease. My mom finally got to talk to the Intensivist who only called her because she begged the nurse and we finally got a nurse to help us. No one, not even his primary's office, was helping us talk to anyone. And we could not see him. My mom had his durable power of attorney, but no one asked. And since he was sedated and couldn't make decisions, she should have been consulted.
On Saturday, finally someone let us come see my dad "through the glass." He was sedated but looked good. He was obviously uncomfortable. We couldn't go in to see him. The nurse went in, only putting on an additional mask, but we had to stay out. We both had covid and we recovered which we told them but it didn't matter.
He got a new Intensivist on Saturday. This doctor was the only one who took an interest in my dad and tried to help him. He was also the only doctor who ever called my mom. Dad had some problems with his lungs over the weekend and one collapsed.
What Really Killed Him
On Monday, the "good" doctor calls my mom and says that they may have to vent my dad in order to re-inflate the lung so that he can go in and remove the mucus plug. Dad died while they tried to vent him. The chaplain didn't call us and tell us to come until they're trying to revive him. He then called twice more and asks if they can stop CPR.
When we got there, the "good" doctor said he's going to try one more thing to revive my dad and if it works, we'll have just about two or three minutes with him. Unfortunately, the “one more thing” didn't work. My dad was gone and we were finally allowed into his room to see him WITHOUT MASKS. We could touch him, kiss him.
The "good" doctor is with us and he is very compassionate and helpful. He notes that dad was septic upon arrival. He asks if dad was given antibodies. We say he was and he replies, "this will be investigated." He apologizes. Dad is also severely malnourished and has lost 20 lbs. His demeanor tells us that Dad could have been saved if only they had not just followed the covid protocol.
That night, within 2 hours of his death, my dad's online medical chart was turned off. I requested the records and saw there was still noting going on two or three days thereafter. Why was the chart turned off so fast?
Records also indicate dad was septic upon admission, malnourished by the hospital, and given 9 medications that caused the heart problem he had (prolonged QT interval), sedated for 175 hours on a drug that is only meant for 24 hours, and may have suffered oxygen toxicity as well.
My dad always said, "don't let a loved one go to the hospital and if they have to go to the hospital, don't let them be alone." Unfortunately, the protocol left us no choice. He was in the hospital and was alone with no one to advocate for him.