WINDSOR, Conn. — The COVID-19 tragedy at nursing homes continues to broaden in both size and scope. FOX61 has been talking with families who are sounding the alarm about a facility in Windsor.
The state will be releasing more nursing home specific infection data Thursday. It comes at a time when the state says they’ve personally inspected about 60 nursing homes so far. Kimberly Hall North in Windsor is a 150 bed facility. Last Thursday, state data put the number of dead at nine, but now Kimberly Hall says they've lost 35 residents, raising questions about the accuracy of the data.
In addition to the deaths, 58 residents have tested positive and 28 staff have also contracted COVID. Kimberly Hall North is a Genesis Healthcare facility. Dr. Richard Feifer is the company-wide Chief Medical Officer. He said, "I wish I could tell you exactly why at that facility they had so many when other Genesis facilities around the state and around the country don’t."
Brenda Anagnos lost her mother Carol Ballard to COVID at Kimberly Hall. She claims that despite an executive order allowing in person end of life visitation, she was never given that opportunity. "They didn’t give me that option they know I was begging at the window, I was calling and said I was coming there to come to the window," said Anagnos.
David Hutchinson said the same thing. His father Cecil ‘Scotty’ Hutchinson died at Kimberly Hall. "Never happened. It was never even introduced to me as do you want to put gloves and a gown on and come in and hold your dads hand. I would have been there in a heartbeat."
Families told FOX61 that Kimberly Hall refused to administer fluids through an IV, refused to transfer their loved ones to the hospital and pushed them to sign ‘do not resuscitate orders.’ "They told everybody in this Zoom meeting that if we don’t have a DNR we should get one because no one was going to the hospital. They wouldn’t be treated they wouldn’t get a ventilator. Just sign a DNR because they are treating in house," said Hutchinson.
FOX61 brought those concerns to Kimberly Hall North. On the topic of do not resuscitate orders, Dr. Feifer said, "No. On a daily family call, the Medical Director asked families to think about advance directives and contact us on their wishes for their loved one. We do not counsel families on what to choose, but we do want to know what their wishes are in case they are needed."
On the question of loved ones being told they would not be administered IV fluids Feifer said, "IV fluid usage is not a specific treatment for COVID-19 and IVs are not a solution for everyone with COVID-19. In fact, IV fluids can sometimes be harmful in the frail elderly. All patients are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, as medical guidance suggests not to overwhelm the heart and lungs with excess fluids."
And when it comes to end of life visits Dr. Feifer said, "Families can of course come in for end of life situations. However, sometimes it is not evident that the patient is at risk of dying until the final hours. That's one of the most challenging aspects of this new disease in the elderly. Unfortunately, with COVID-19 and a sudden onset of symptoms, that warning is not always there."
As for David Hutchinson, who's family came to America from Scotland in search of a better life. He says the American nursing home system needs to learn lessons. He’s bringing his Dad back home. "Even though I’m bringing his ashes back home to Scotland he thought this was the greatest country in the world and he would always stand up and sing the national anthem. He was known for that. But for the greatest nation is the world to treat the elderly like this, it’s also making it the greatest crime in the nation."