The disproportionate number of black people who are dying from the coronavirus disease continues to grow.
Deborah Gatewood, a 63-year-old healthcare worker who lived and worked in Michigan, died earlier this month from COVID-19 complications. Her daughter is now speaking out about what she describes as the “disheartening” treatment—or lack thereof—her mother got from the hospital she visited no less than four times before her death, seeking help that she ultimately did not receive. Gatewood had worked at that same hospital for 31 years.
From NBC News:
Gatewood drove herself to the Beaumont Hospital emergency room in Farmington Hills on March 18, where she requested a test and was sent home.
“They said she wasn’t severe enough and that they weren’t going to test her,” said Kaila Corrothers, Gatewood’s only child. “They told her to just go home and rest.”
The next day, Gatewood went back to the hospital to try and get a test. They acknowledged she was showing signs of COVID-19, her daughter told Fox 2 news, but still only told her to take cough medicine and rest.
By the end of March—after 2 more rebuffed visits to Beaumont Hospital—Gatewood was lying at home in bed unresponsive. At that point Corrothers took her mother to another hospital, where she was finally tested for the coronavirus. By then, Gatewood had developed bilateral pneumonia and had to be intubated. Then her kidneys failed. On April 20, she died. She was two years away from retirement.
“She was gonna be the greatest grandmother-nanny that I needed her to be,” her daughter told Fox 2 Detroit.
While the whole country and world grapples with this public health crisis and its accompanying mass sickness and death, systemic inequities and widespread biases rooted in white supremacy are leaving black people in America holding more than a fair fraction of the pain.
After Deborah Gatewood’s tragic death, Beaumont Hospital released a statement about its admission protocol:
“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.”