ABC11 reported on one family’s fight for justice. The family lost their mother. Palestine Howze died in a North Carolina nursing home in April. The family said the COVID-19 pandemic affected the care their mom got. She was neglected. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Howze wasn’t able to visit during the months leading up to her death.
Lisa Howze said: “Not being able to help her. I feel like we just failed her. I just feel so angry. I can’t even grieve from my anger and from my guilt.“
Her daughter must live with the guilt.
“I was there to advocate for my mother and her care. When they shut the doors, they stripped me of all of that. They stripped me of my decision making,” Howze said. “They were telling me, ‘We got this; she’s fine.’ But that wasn’t the case.”
During the restrictions, the facility’s own documentation shows the facility allowed her to develop a painful pressure injury. Poor wound care and a lack of personal hygiene care caused the pressure ulcer to become infected leading to fatal septic shock. The facility refused to transfer to the hospital. The facility let her die at the nursing home facility.
Many states including North Carolina have passed laws protecting nursing homes and healthcare facilities from civil lawsuits. The Howzes filed a lawsuit against the facility.
Elizabeth Todd with the Law Office of James Scott Farrin said: “When it came time to lock down the facilities to try to keep COVID out. That meant that the families couldn’t get into the facilities to advocate for their loved ones and to evaluate and assess how their loved one was doing. All her daughters could do was look at her through the window, and they were powerless to do anything to help her.
“I just want them to be held accountable, because my mother is not the only one. I want all nursing homes to be held accountable for the care that they are paid to give,” Howze said.