We feel his death was the result of a combination of discrimination of being unvaccinated, deadly Covid hospital protocols, and hospital negligence.
Michael, a Michigan native, had just turned 40.
“The nurse said he would probably stay one night and go home with oxygen. Instead, 24 days later, he died.”
I want to tell you the story of my brother, Michael, a Michigan native who had just turned 40. He was an active person and a talented mechanic who had a love for the outdoors. He had no known health problems. He was in good shape and did not smoke or drink. He was single, without children, and lived alone. He had done extensive research on the vaccines and the covid protocols the government controlled in the hospital. I am his older sister, Marie, and Jane is his twin sister along with two younger brothers, Daniel and Greg. We were in charge of his medical decisions and I was mainly in charge of getting his daily updates from the hospital. Our hospital experience will haunt us forever. We feel his death was the result of a combination of discrimination of being unvaccinated, deadly covid hospital protocols, and hospital negligence.
Michael Hall had symptoms that began on Dec 12th, 2021. He had a fever, body aches, and started a cough on Dec 10th. By Dec 12th, he was short of breath and it was painful to take a deep breath. He did not want to get medical treatment because of his research, he was afraid to go to the hospital. We were worried he had pneumonia and his pulse ox was in the low 80's. My dad convinced him he needed medical intervention and called the paramedics. He went to a small community hospital where he had TWO NEGATIVE rapid covid tests, and was also negative for influenza. The nurse said he would probably stay one night and go home with oxygen. Instead, 24 days later, he died.
Shortly after admission, he was given Remdesivir, which we all know Michael had done research on and never wanted! He was given this drug without a positive test. He was isolated from family and had no one there to advocate for him! We were told his chest x-ray showed covid pneumonia patterns so it was determined he would receive the hospital covid protocol. We believe this drug is what put him in the ICU. He went downhill after the first dose and was then on 55L of high-flow oxygen. We explained to the nurses, we do not want him on that drug and to take him off. He was on this drug for 4 days and was then finally discontinued. Then, the Dr wanted him transferred to a bigger hospital. They tried to transfer him to many hospitals, and all said they would not take him due to no bed availability. The Dr said he would transfer him to Ascension Borgess, in Kalamazoo, as a last resort but that it would be a stepping stone until he could get into a bigger hospital with more options for such a young patient. The next thing we knew, he was transferred by ambulance to Ascension Borgess on the evening of Dec 16th.
What followed were days of ups and downs, horrible traumatizing phone calls, and what we feel was hospital negligence and mistreatment. He was on BiPAP upon admittance. The nurse's concern was lack of nutrition. She explained to me over the phone the Drs felt it was too risky to place an NG tube. The nurse tried to convince the Dr she could get in place quickly and was repeatedly told no. Then, About 48 hours after the last bag of Remdesivir was hung, he was doing great and showing improvement!! The nurse was able to get him up and marching in place and sitting in a chair off the BiPAP and just the nasal cannula. He was able to drink two protein shakes which was the only nutrition he had had in days! He had started texting us with sarcastic comments which showed his fighting spirit was back!
Lack Of Care
“When asked her opinion of how long he sat with two collapsed lungs, her response was "most of the night".”
That night he suffered bilateral pneumothorax. His day shift nurse called me and told me she left him at 7:30pm after getting him transferred from the chair back to bed and back on BiPAP. The next morning when she arrived for her shift, she found Michael full of subcutaneous air everywhere in his neck and right arm. When asked her opinion of how long he sat with two collapsed lungs, her response was "most of the night". She said the night shift nurse used the excuse that Michael never hit the call button to say he was in pain!! So it's the ICU patient's fault? Why was he not being monitored? After this incident, everything went downhill. Next were chest tube placements, blood clots everywhere in his entire right upper extremity which led to picc line infection and removal and increased work of breathing. The nurse told us he was very close to being intubated and said she could sneak in one visitor. Greg, our younger brother, was able to see him.
That night, in the early morning of Dec 21, I received a frantic phone call at 3am from the Dr. She said as soon as she intubated him, the force of the ventilator made his left lung pneumothorax bigger, and when she set up to put in a chest tube on the left side, the pneumothorax put pressure on his heart and this sent him into cardiac arrest. I was told they did CPR for 7-8 minutes until he was stabilized. The nurse called a couple of hours later saying we needed to get to the hospital because he was not doing well. She was able to sneak us in to see him. His right arm was so swollen and purple and full of clots. Later that afternoon, they put him on dialysis. The Dr explained to us "first covid affects the lungs, then the kidneys next." Michael was put on drugs for a-fib that Greg thinks further damaged his lungs. His pharmacist background was very helpful during this ordeal.
The Push For Death
“ The nurses and Drs we encountered were indifferent, uncaring, or just downright cruel.”
They were concerned with his brain activity after cardiac arrest, so they performed a head CT on Dec 24th. I received a phone call later that afternoon that showed his brain was normal with no sign of stroke! We were able to do a Zoom call with him on Christmas Day. At this point, we had been told all labs were in good range! We were joyful and full of hope and while on the Zoom meeting with all of the family and kids, a palliative care Dr called me. I asked if I could put her on speaker phone so the whole family could hear. She had an absolutely horrible bedside manner. She proceeded to tell us Michael was in very critical condition and if he went into cardiac arrest again there would be nothing more they could do for him. I told her he didn't have a DNR and would they even do CPR? She said, " No, CPR wouldn't do him any good at this point." She also stated he could be brain dead, and we should consider getting hospice involved and pulling him from life support. Needless to say, after being on the ventilator for only 4 days, and just given good news about his head CT and labs we were completely shocked! We all asked questions and she said "I don't know where the disconnect is, but your brother is on the highest forms of life support and very few make it. The statistics are grim." She was horrible, had no compassion, and talked down to us all. All of the kids heard everything and we didn't know why she felt she needed to tell us this terrible non-emergent news on Christmas Day of all days, and on a Zoom call with the patient who could possibly hear everything! In fact, we saw his vitals on his machine and his heart rate jumped to 150 as she was speaking! After she hung up, it went back down in the 70's.
The following week we were able to get two visitors approved. Between my sister Jane, and my brother Greg, someone was able to visit him daily. Every time we questioned why no visitors if he never tested positive for Covid? We were told they were going off his first chest x-ray that showed covid pneumonia patterns as Day1 and after 21 days, more visitors could possibly be approved. Every time we asked if he ever tested positive, we were given an offhand yes answer, without anyone looking anything up in his chart. During this week, my siblings met two very kind, compassionate nurses who treated Michael with care and dignity. One Dr was friendly. The rest of the nurses and Drs we encountered were indifferent, uncaring, or just downright cruel. We were told by one Dr that they had six people waiting for his bed. We told them they needed to give Michael the best fighting chance! He is only 40! One evening as my sister sat with Michael, a male nurse went on a rant about the unvaccinated and" if these people would have just gotten the shot they wouldn't be here and they all come in here wanting our help but it's their own fault"! He was angry. Jane said he came into Michael's room apologizing that he was so tired as he "was still drunk on Nyquil from a sinus infection." He was carelessly banging on machines and roughly changing out IV bags. He told my sister "IF he survives this, it will take him forever to get out of here." Every 12 hours, a different Dr was in charge of his care. We fought for Michael! We asked for monoclonal antibodies, we were told by two different Drs that once a patient is admitted they are automatically disqualified. Why? We weren't given an answer besides "protocol." We asked about alternative treatments and medications (my brother Greg is a pharmacist and suggested other drugs he had been researching). Our education level was questioned, and we were told, "don't get lost in the weeds" regarding different treatments.
A Turn For The Worse
January 2nd was a great day! Vent settings were down to 75, sedation was lowered and my sister was with him for 3 hours that afternoon. His eyes were open for long stretches of time! She was able to show him Christmas morning videos. The entire family was together on a Zoom call and we saw his eyes open! We were so full of hope. The next day his vent settings were back up to 100. Jane went to visit him that night and Michael was heavily sedated again. She felt the staff was not acting as they normally did with her and were vague in answering her questions.
We had been continually trying to get Borgess to transfer him to a facility with respiratory dialysis or ECMO and other treatments to give him the best fighting chance and were always told they had tried, but no one would accept him as he was not a candidate due to his cardiac arrest. I would call the patient care advocate many times and left several messages and was told she was off for the week and I could not get anyone to return my call and when someone finally did, she was very rude. I still don't know if any efforts were ever made to get him transferred.
On the morning of January 5, 2022, I received a phone call from the resident. I was told Michael's blood pressure and oxygen levels were falling and this was "the end of the road." I was completely in shock and asked if we could all come see him right away! There are 8 of us and the Dr. agreed to let 6 of us come see him as he was 'actively dying".
I was the first one to arrive with my brother Greg shortly thereafter. The nurse on duty was one we hadn't yet met. She was a horrible person. She acted annoyed that we were there and roughly helped us put on our PPE. Told us without any compassion that Michael was alive, but just temporarily. As my brother and I were in the room, a resident came in and told us we needed to say our goodbyes and pull him off life support. I asked him what happened?! He had been doing great and opening his eyes and all vitals had been good. He informed me his oxygen had been going down to the 60s and 70s throughout his entire hospital stay and they felt he had no brain activity. I said this is the first we are hearing of this!! We have detailed notes and NOT ONCE were we told of low oxygen levels!! The lowest that had been reported was 85.
“She begged and said she was his twin, what is one more person? The nurse refused to let her in!”
All 8 of us assembled in a conference room along with the resident and a palliative care Dr. He gave the same speech to all of us. It's time to say goodbye. No brain activity. We asked the question: how do you know he is brain dead? He said in his opinion because of the repeated episodes of low oxygen. We said his brain CT came back normal! Dr said his MRI did not. I said he never had an MRI!! The Doctor said, "that's right, he couldn't have an MIR due to his jaw surgery." We said he had never had jaw surgery and has never had an MRI !! We had totally lost confidence in this team long ago, but this was as if he had him confused by a different patient or were just lying! We were told if we take him off life support we would all be allowed to go in and say goodbye. The family said we are not doing anything until there is proof he is brain dead. Dr said he would do an EEG. Then we asked if the other 4 family members who had not seen Michael yet could go in. They refused. I said on the phone you agreed to 6 people because he was actively dying and now that we don't want to pull him off life support you are refusing? He said sorry we couldn't see him. We pushed back. What is the scientific reason no one can go up there? We were told it was hospital protocol. So we are being punished for not agreeing to give up? Eventually, he gave in and let the other two family members up. Then Jane, his twin, went to see him. She was the seventh person. The same awful nurse refused to let her in. She informed Jane that 6 people were approved to come in and 6 were already up. She begged and said she was his twin, what is one more person? The nurse refused to let her in!
We stayed at the hospital for another couple of hours. We all drove home after the updated phone call stated no changes. A winter storm had started. As soon as we all got home, one family being 40 minutes away, we got a phone call saying Michael went into cardiac arrest and were told we needed to come up there. The same person who just refused to let Jane in 2 hours earlier. None of us would have made it back in time. He died alone without us.
The whole experience was nothing short of a nightmare. The next day the kind funeral home director said to us "Michael is in good hands here." We started crying because not once during Michael's hospital stay were we ever told this. We blame the hospital for negligence after he sat most of the night with two collapsed lungs and then went downhill from there. We still wonder why he was treated with the poisonous Remdesivir when he never had a positive covid test and did he ever consent to this drug? He needed his family to advocate for him. It is inhumane to make a patient suffer alone without any support.
Thank you for reading Michael's story. He was the most kind, humble human being and l had hopes of getting married one day and having a family. His life was cut short and he did not deserve this.