Man With Coronavirus Symptoms Dies After Being Allegedly Turned Away From 3 ERs

April 23, 2020
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A family in Michigan is mourning the loss of a loved one after he was allegedly turned away from three different hospitals.

This was after Gary Fowler showed COVID-19 symptoms after being in close contact with someone who tested positive, reported People.

The 56-year-old died on April 7 while he was sitting in a chair next to his sleeping wife at their home. Fowler died hours after his father David died, having testing positive for coronavirus.

Keith Gambrell, his stepson, said he tried to allegedly seek help at three emergency rooms in the Detroit area. He eventually was denied a COVID-19 test before he died.

“My dad passed at home, and no one tried to help him,” Gambrell said. “He asked for help, and they sent him away. They turned him away.”

Gambrell also shared that his stepfather was starting to show symptoms after visiting Fowler's father in late March. At first, the family believed that David had the flu, but he later tested positive for coronavirus. Soon after, he was placed on a ventilator in the hospital after passing out in his bathroom.

The stepson said that Fowler developed a fever and cough in the weeks after visiting the patriarch of the family.

Gambrell said his stepfather was allegedly turned away from the Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit Receiving Hospital, and the Beaumont Hospital. The stepson claimed that officials at Beaumont Hospital told Fowler that “more than likely the fever is from bronchitis” and gave him “a piece of paper saying to act like you have the virus.”

Gambrell also claimed that he received similar advice from staff members at Detriot Receiving Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital.

“He was begging for his life, but no one would help him at all. Like they just kept sending him away,” Gambrell said.

Detriot Medical Center, which owns Detriot Receiving Hospital, told People that they have no record of Fowler “coming to Detroit Receiving Hospital for any treatment.”

A spokesperson for Beaumont told the outlet: “COVID-19 is hitting Southeastern Michigan particularly hard. As patients come to Beaumont for care during this extraordinary time, we are doing all we can to evaluate, triage and care for patients based on the information we know at the time. When making care decisions, we do not discriminate against anyone based upon their gender, race or any other factor. We grieve the loss of any patient to COVID-19 or any other illness.”

Brenda Craig, Henry Ford Health System’s vice president of integrated communications, released the following statement to Detroit Free Press: “All patients who come to our emergency departments receive care and assessment. Some patients will meet criteria for admission at the time, while others may not. In the case of COVID-19, we have a multi-step triage process. As patients arrive to our emergency department, all are screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Those with mild or moderate symptoms who do not meet admission criteria at the time they present may be sent home with strict instructions to return immediately if symptoms worsen.”

Craig continued: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fowlers and all families devastated by the effects of COVID-19. We’re not able to share details due to patient privacy, but we don’t take lightly any concerns of biased care given our dedication to putting patients first. Throughout this pandemic, we have followed CDC guidelines related to testing and clinical care protocols. Henry Ford has also been a leader in addressing health disparities and driving true health equity as part of our core mission and values and that work will continue.”

The family set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover medical bills and expenses, including for Cheryl Fowler, Gary’s wife and Keith’s mother, was hospitalized the same day her husband died according to the fundraising page. As of Thursday, the family has raised $25,273 of its $50,000 goal.

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