Nurse ‘denied test four times’ dies

A US healthcare worker has died after being denied a coronavirus test four times, her daughter has claimed.

Deborah Gatewood was just two years from retiring as a phlebotomist at a Detroit hospital NBC News reports.

However the 63-year-old died on April 17 after contracting COVID-19 - and her daughter Kaila Corrothers believes it was because her symptoms were ignored multiple times at the Beaumont Hospital in Michigan - the place she had worked for three decades.

The hospital told a local Fox News station: "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."

A US healthcare worker, Deborah Gatewood (pictured right) has died from coronavirus after being denied a test four times, her daughter (pictured left) claims. Picture: Philippe Desmazes / AFP. Picture: Fox 2
A US healthcare worker, Deborah Gatewood (pictured right) has died from coronavirus after being denied a test four times, her daughter (pictured left) claims. Picture: Philippe Desmazes / AFP. Picture: Fox 2

 

Ms Corrothers said her mother started experiencing symptoms in mid-March when she drove herself to hospital to get checked over and request a test.

Ms Gatewood visited the emergency department four times and was told each time to go home and rest, only being prescribed cough medicine. Ms Corrothers said she knew this because she marked in a calendar each time her mum went in.

"They said she wasn't severe enough and that they weren't going to test her," Ms Corrothers said.

On March 27, 10 days after Ms Gatewood first asked to be tested for COVID-19, Ms Corrothers went to her mum's house and found her unresponsive in bed.

She tried to get her into the car to drive her to the hospital but said she collapsed and was forced to call an ambulance for help.

Deborah Gatewood worked for the same hospital for 31 years. Picture: Facebook
Deborah Gatewood worked for the same hospital for 31 years. Picture: Facebook

This time she was taken to Sinai-Grace Hospital where she was tested for the virus and it came back positive.

However, two weeks later - after battling an extremely high fever, being intubated and contracting bilateral pneumonia - Ms Gatewood's organs began to fail.

On April 20, she was tragically declared 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," Ms Corrothers told Fox. "It is disheartening to say the least."

When Ms Gatewood’s condition worsened she was taken by ambulance to a different hospital where she later died from the virus her daughter said. Picture: Fox 2
When Ms Gatewood’s condition worsened she was taken by ambulance to a different hospital where she later died from the virus her daughter said. Picture: Fox 2

Tributed have poured in on Ms Gatewood's Facebook, with one person describing the loss as "the saddest" coronavirus story they've heard since the outbreak began.

"This is by far the saddest story I have read, I didn't know Deborah but may she become a angel," one person wrote.

"I just saw this story on TV. My heart is broken for her daughter and grandchild," another said.

The US has been one of the worst-affected places with COVID-19, while Australia has now recorded more than 6700 confirmed cases, including 3002 in New South Wales, 1349 in Victoria, 1030 in Queensland, 438 in South Australia, 549 in Western Australia, 212 in Tasmania, 106 in the Australian Capital Territory and 28 in the Northern Territory. Eighty-three deaths have been recorded nationally.

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | rebekah.scanlan@news.com.au

Originally published as Woman 'denied test four times' dies