LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — More than half of the residents in a Henderson nursing home contracted COVID-19, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Out of the reported 104 residents with COVID-19, 29 died.
Now the granddaughter of a woman who died says she wants answers after her family was kept in the dark.
Sunday would have been Maxine Williams’ 90th birthday.
Her granddaughter says she understands there’s a pandemic and people are going to catch COVID-19, but she has questions about how the nursing home where her grandmother lived handled the situation.
“My grandmother died alone, in the hospital by herself,” said Erinn Jones.
Maxine Williams died of COVID-19, according to her death certificate.
Jones says her 89-year-old grandmother had dementia and was a resident at Delmar Gardens in Henderson.
On July 17th, her family received a call that Williams was taken to a hospital by ambulance.
“They didn’t know what hospital she went to,” Jones said. “All they could tell us was she went by ambulance.”
After several calls, Jones says she was able to confirm her grandmother was taken to St. Rose Dominican Hospital’s Siena Campus, where she died.
“They sent her to the hospital Friday afternoon. She passed away in the emergency room a couple of hours later. She didn’t even make it to be admitted.”
Jones has questions about the days leading up to her grandmother’s death.
The I-Team has examined 130 pages of medical records that the family says they obtained from Delmar Gardens:
- On July 8, Williams had a cough and was prescribed medicine.
- On July 13, she was tested for COVID-19.
- The cough was on-and-off through July 15.
- On July 16, test results came back positive for COVID-19. By then, Williams had a low-grade fever. She was given a nasal cannula for help breathing and records show she was so uncomfortable that she was moaning.
- On July 17, her oxygen level dropped to 75. Medical staff noted that 90 to 100 is normal.
That’s when an ambulance as called.
“How did it get that bad?” Jones asks.
According to records, staff reached out to the family six times over the course of the nine days to provide updates, but the family disputes that.
Jones also says the family was not allowed to communicate with Williams by phone or Facetime as requested.
“There was something going on that they weren’t telling us about,” she says.
The attending physician identified in medical records is Dr. Charles McSwain. It is unclear from those records whether he examined Williams in person before she was taken to the hospital.
When reached by phone, Dr. McSwain told the I-Team that during that time he was not making regular visits. He declined to comment further.
The I-Team also obtained state inspection records for Delmar Gardens.
The month Williams died of the virus, there was one violation with at least six different components, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
This report dated July 1 states the facility did not have sufficient infection prevention and control.
Records indicate that one resident who was being monitored due to a fever and cough was in a room with a resident who had no COVID-19 symptoms, and their beds were two feet apart.
The report also noted disinfectant cleaner not being used properly and laundry staff not wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
“In hindsight, it kind of felt like she really didn’t have a chance to not get infected,” Jones said.
By Aug. 13, Delmar Gardens provided retraining and made changes to address the violation, according to documents.
No deficiencies were found in two additional visits.
As of Feb. 19, the state reports that 58% of the residents at Delmar Gardens contracted COVID-19, and 29 of them died.
“I just want someone to be held responsible,” Jones said.
The I-Team reached out to Delmar Gardens. Calls were not returned and no statement was provided.
We will continue to follow the story and bring you updates.