The first two weeks of February 2021 haven’t been favorable to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Last year, despite fighting a pandemic, he wrote a book touting his impeccable leadership skills.
He won an Emmy and the media swooned at the mention of his name.
The tides shifted when New York Attorney General Letitia James released a bombshell report that confirmed our worst fears. The coronavirus nursing home death count was off by about 50 percent.
Not long after, the Associated Press sent another torpedo into Cuomo’s glass house by reporting that the number of COVID-19 recovering patients transferred into nursing homes was also much higher, up from 6,327 to 9,056 a 40% increase.
But it keeps raining.
The Post reported on a leaked conversation Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s secretary, had with lawmakers in she revealed the Cuomo administration purposely hid information about the nursing home COVID-19 deaths out of concern that it would be used against them by the Trump administration.
So, let me get this straight! While my mom was alone, gasping for air and unable to cry
out for her family’s assistance, Gov. Cuomo and his team were worried about then-President Donald Trump’s tweets?
That is a tell-tale sign of an out of touch, power-hungry narcissist unworthy of his office.
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since we gave our mother a hug and kiss.
My mother, Ana Martinez, was receiving short-term therapy at Our Lady of Consolation
in West Islip.
She was transferred to the rehabilitation wing in mid-January, 2020 while recuperating from a wound and knee replacement surgery. Her discharge was almost two months overdue, and our mother was desperate to come
After our family’s persistent phone calls, we finally received a call back from the
nursing home on Friday, March 27th. They informed us, “Your mom will be going
home on Monday [March 30th ].”
Finally, she’d be back in the comfort of her own home, surrounded by those who loved
her most. However, in the days leading up to that phone call, we had noticed she was experiencing extreme abdominal pain.
In our brief phone conversations, she’d wail in pain, saying, “Oh, it hurts, it hurts!”
When I asked what was hurting, she cried out, “everything!”
I immediately contacted her nurses, and they dismissed my concerns, reassuring me they would give her something for the abdominal pain. Not knowing she was exposed to COVID-19, we assumed she simply had an upset stomach.
That evening when I called her to tell her the great news, I noticed that she was
hoarse and I told her, “`Mom, you can’t get sick now, you are coming home. Get some
rest and eat well, and we will pick you up on Monday.’”
Monday never came.
After an agonizing wait for x-rays, our mother went into respiratory distress. They found
she had a collapsed lung, and only then did they transfer her to the hospital. The hospital confirmed she was positive for the coronavirus, and although she put up a good fight, she died two days later.
We were horrified, shocked, and in disbelief. How could someone cleared for discharge
suddenly die two days later?
We were never informed that she had been exposed, let alone that her symptoms were indicative of COVID-19.
After the visitation shut down, a letter from the facility reassured us they had put every precaution in place to safeguard the residents. Thinking it would be only a few weeks we weren’t very worried.
Only after her death did we discover that our mother’s facility was previously cited 31 times for lacking infectious disease protocols. This particular facility had only reported 40 deaths and just recently the numbers were updated to 69.
The New York Attorney General’s report confirms that these facilities were wrought with inadequate infectious disease measures, and equipment such as PPE, which directly contributed to the wild fire spreading through dry grass.
I have since spoken to many families that have poured their heart out to me within our
advocacy group, VoicesForSeniors, confirming that the practice of deception is
prevalent all around.
There are few positives in this story. But if we can make our demands known we want an independent investigation with subpoena power to enact much needed and frankly
overdue laws to protect the residents that are residing in the facilities today and we beg
CMS (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) to come up with an immediate
plan for visitation to prevent a new wave of deaths in our nation’s nursing homes.
The author founded the advocacy group Voices For Seniors after her mother’s death to “significantly improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable, elderly communities through grassroots initiatives and advocacy for protective legislation and reform.”