'How do we in the U.S. not help people?' Mom of 24-year-old who died from COVID-19 speaks out

Posted at 5:48 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 23:39:50-04

(WXYZ) — Her son was a healthy 24-year-old. Then COVID-19 took his life.

Denise Hirschmann is well known in Macomb County for her work as an attorney, Magistrate and Court Administrator. She felt pride as she watched her son, Ben Hirschmann, stand up for what he believed. He loved politics and recently interned for State Senator Peter Lucido.

Related: 24-year-old intern for Sen. Lucido dies after suffering COVID-19 symptoms

“He was a wonderful individual who cared about people and wanted to make sure people were taken care of,” said Sen. Lucido.

Now in his honor they are calling for change to make sure people are taken care of better than Ben was.

Denise says the way doctors are being forced to treat patients right now is putting all of us at risk.

After a telemedicine appointment a doctor told him to quarantine himself since he had COVID-19 symptoms. His mom says he felt worse, so on Monday he had another telemedicine appointment around 3:30 in the afternoon. The doctor told the young man to stay home.

“At 6:30 in the morning on Tuesday my son was dead and the autopsy showed it was acute pneumonia from the virus. And his lungs were filled with disease. And not a medical professional that we reached out to would help us,” she said

Ben’s mom says his dad, a two-time cancer survivor with lung disease and COVID-19 symptoms, is now getting the same instructions. Doctors don’t want to see you in person until it is visibly obvious you are in trouble.

“The medical examiner concurred with me. This is not the practice of medicine when doctors refuse to treat, to treat sick people. This is the United States of America and when your child is sick you can’t take them to a doctor. You can’t have a doctor listen to their heart. You cant have a doctor listen to their lungs,” said Hirschmann.

She says she doesn’t blame the doctors, but the protocols they are following as they deal with this overwhelming pandemic. She says something needs to change to improve access to care.

“I know we can’t continue to not help people. How do we in the United States of America not help people? How do we not let people be able to see a doctor when they are sick?” she asked.

Senator Lucido said he is calling on his colleagues in Lansing to find a way to allow perhaps drive up check ups so doctors can better assess patients in an efficient fashion. He also recognizes there are numerous challenges to getting the staff needed in this crisis.

“Ben would want everyone to sit down at the table and find solutions,” said Lucido.

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