Father, son die from COVID-19 6 hours apart after allegedly turned away by 3 hospitals

Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 11:46:09-04

GROSSE POINT WOODS (WXYZ) — A metro Detroit family is reeling after two devastating losses six hours apart.

David Fowler, 76, and his son, Gary, 56, both died due to complications from the coronavirus, according to Gary's daughter Paris McCray.

McCray said her grandfather, David, died on April 6 and her father on April 7 in his Grosse Pointe Woods home.

"He was in his recliner... that's where we found his body," McCray said. She added that her mother was asleep in the bed next to the chair when he passed.

"My father was a great man," Ross Fowler said. "He was well loved."

McCray claims three metro Detroit hospitals declined her father COVID-19 testing and treatment. Her grandfather never went to a hospital to be tested before dying.

"If (my father) could of gotten admitted to any hospital and gotten the proper treatment and proper care, he would still be here," McCray said.

Since then, she said three family members have tested positive for the new virus, including their mother, she was rushed back to the hospital on Tuesday due to complications from the virus.

McCray believes the system failed her father. They want others to avoid the heartbreak they've endured.

"Get [tested]! Because we couldn't, we were denied," McCray said.

7 Action News reached out to Beaumont, Detroit Receiving and Henry Ford hospitals where McCray said they went to get her father help.

While Detroit Receiving Hospital said there is no record of Gary Fowler at their hospital, 7 Action News received a statement from Henry Ford Hospital.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fowler’s and all families devastated by the effects of COVID-19," Henry Ford Hospital spokeswoman Brenda Craig said. "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."

Craig added that "no one is denied care."

"All patients who come to our emergency departments receive care and assessment," Craig said in a statement. "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."

In response to COVID-19 testing at Henry Ford, spokeswoman Brenda Craig said, "Given the U.S. currently does not have the ability to widely expand testing to everyone, the CDC has issued guidelines to health systems to prioritize testing. We’ve followed these guidelines closely, whereby patients who are currently admitted and healthcare workers experiencing symptoms are among those receiving top priority for testing. We are working aggressively with our key state and local partners to expand testing capabilities."

Beaumont Hospital has not yet responded to a request for comment. 7 Action News will update this story with the latest information as it's made available.

A GoFundMe page has been made for the father and son here.

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