Coronavirus in Virginia

Daughter Convinced Virginia Rehab Center Waited Too Long to Send Woman to Hospital

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A Northern Virginia family believes a rehab center waited too long to get a 65-year-old woman to a hospital when her symptoms got worse.

Joanne Blue once was an EMT and medical worker. Now a doting grandmother and great-grandmother, her family hasn’t seen her in weeks.

She’s on a ventilator in the intensive care unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital in a battle for her life with the coronavirus. 

Before COVID-19 hit, Blue had been recovering from a minor stroke at Lake Manassas Health & Rehabilitation Center. The day she was due to be discharged, she called her daughter, Joni Blue, to say she had a high fever, 103 degrees. 

With visitors prohibited, Joni Blue found another way to check on her mom.

“I went over and I tapped on her window and she looked horrible,” she said.

“So I told the nursing supervisor either they were going to call an ambulance or I was,” she added. 

At the hospital, her mom was tested for coronavirus and returned to the rehab center with instructions she be returned to the hospital if more symptoms emerged.

Joni Blue became so concerned her mom wasn’t being properly monitored she bought her a pulse oximeter so she could check her own oxygen levels, but her condition continued to worsen.

But Joni Blue said it wasn’t until she called the local newspaper that the rehab center sent her mom to the hospital again.

Joanne Blue was put on a ventilator and transferred to Inova Fairfax, where she’s in grave condition.

Her daughter believes the rehab center should have called for help sooner the second time.

“She’s trying minute-by-minute just to breathe, and those five days that were taken from her, that could have been everything,” she said. “She could have gotten treatment way sooner.”

The center’s administrator issued a statement reading in part, “We are aware of recent claims and do not agree with the facts as alleged. We think it is important to separate opinions from facts, as a family member’s opinion and healthcare provider’s assessment may differ.”

The statement goes on to say they are vigilantly observing all patients during the pandemic. 

Joni Blue and her family continue to hope her mom will pull through.

“If anyone can do it, she can,” she said. “She’s got it; she can do it.” 

The rehab center said it has one patient who tested positive for COVID-19.

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