The daughter of Deborah Gatewood, a Michigan health care worker, is speaking out after her mother died of coronavirus-like symptoms after being refused a test four times at the Farmington Hills hospital where she had dedicated more than 30 years of her life.
Kaila Corrothers, Gatewood’s only child, told NBC News that the thing that bothered her the most about the entire situation was that Beaumont Hospital, where her mother had worked for 31 years, had not treated her mother well.
“This did not have to happen this way,” she said.
According to the report, Gatewood, a phlebotomist, started feeling ill and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms around mid-March.
The 63-year-old drove herself to her Detroit hospital’s emergency room on March 18, requesting a coronavirus test. However, she was sent home.
“They said she wasn’t severe enough and that they weren’t going to test her,” Corrothers told NBC. “They told her to just go home and rest.”
The next day, according to the grieving daughter, her mother went back, this time having a cough as well. Again, Gatewood wasn’t given a test, but was instead prescribed cough medication.
From there, the health care worker’s symptoms only got worse.
When Gatewood returned to the hospital on March 21, this time with a fever that had spiked, she was told by staff that she most likely had the novel coronavirus, but was still not tested.
She went to the hospital one more time on March 23.
On March 27, when Corrothers went to visit her mother, she found her in bed. Corrothers decided to take her mother to the hospital, but as they approached the door to leave, the clearly distressed Gatewood who had trouble catching her breath, collapsed.
“Her eyes kind of rolled back,” Corrothers said. “She was unresponsive. We got her back to the bed and laid her down.”
Gatewood was transported to the Sinai Grace Hospital, where she was finally tested for the virus. But by then she was severely ill, having developed bilateral pneumonia and running a fever of 106 degrees. Gatewood was intubated for two weeks. Her kidneys began to fail, and then her heart. On April 20, she was pronounced dead.
“The fact that she got infected by doing the job she did for 31 years and she couldn’t get taken care of by her own family, meaning Beaumont, it’s sad,” Corrothers told Fox2Detroit. “It is disheartening, to say the least.”
Beaumont released a statement to Fox2Detroit: “As patients come to Beaumont for care during this pandemic, we are doing everything we can to evaluate, triage and care for patients based on the information we know at the time. We grieve the loss of any patient to COVID-19 or any other illness.”
Corrothers is now using her mother’s case to encourage people to make sure they get the treatment they deserve, even if they have to go to another hospital.
“If people feel symptoms, go to the doctor. You’re the only person who knows how you feel,” she told NBC. “If you can’t get treated at one hospital, go to another.”