On July 4th, 2021 I took my husband, Jeff Smith, to Mease Countryside Hospital to get a simple chest X-ray. I didn't think he was breathing as deeply as I thought he should, and I wanted to make sure everything was ok. He was on day 10 of having Covid. We both had it, but I was over it by this point.

We had not gotten very sick; he was still working from home. He didn't want to go, but I insisted (something I now regret).

Jeff walked in on his own, was not struggling and we felt he would be in and out. They told me to come back in two hours to pick him up, but 30 minutes later he called and said they were keeping him overnight to give him some oxygen.

By midnight they called and said they were taking him to the Covid ICU for more individual care, but nothing to worry about. What I know now is, that when he was in the ER they gave him two doses of Remdesivir without his consent or mine! This was within 3 hours of being in the ER!

On July 5th his lab work came back with a highly elevated CRP (C-reactive protein) level, and a high D-dimer level indicating that he had a PE (pulmonary embolism) or DVT (deep vein thrombosis).

The doctor acknowledged the PE and noted it on his chart. His levels on July 4th were in the normal range, but after being administered two doses of Remdesivir they were now very elevated. This was then left untreated for two weeks.

On July 6th his nurse (a traveling nurse) called me crying and told me that Jeff was upset because the doctor was now talking to him about going on the ventilator. Jeff told the doctor that he would NOT go on the ventilator and that his wife wouldn't like it, and the doctor told him, "well she will like it or you're going to die". Jeff said, "Then send me home right now and let me die at home with my wife".

I told the nurse that I needed to see my husband, and she told me to come, and she would sneak me in. He was so upset. I was able to calm him down and stayed for about an hour and a half. I reassured him he was going to be ok. I believed he was going to be okay, because we trusted the doctors and nurses and felt they were there to help him. Why would we ever think anything different?

On July 18th the doctor finally ordered a CT scan (2 weeks later). That's when they first started to treat the PE with a Heparin drip and ordered to check labs every 6 hours. However, the labs were done twice (12 hours apart), yet showed the Heparin was working. BUT, the next doctor came in and took Jeff off the Heparin drip and put him on Eliquis for what reason I don’t know, because the Heparin was working! The labs were never checked again on the PE, so essentially it was not treated.

I called the hospital every morning and night to get reports on him. I requested that the doctor call me with an update and what the plan was for his care.

Some of the doctors would talk down to me and be very short and just tell me anything to get me off the phone. Some were gloom and doom saying he was going to be there for weeks, and one told me he gave him only a 10% chance to survive if he didn’t go on the ventilator.

I requested a Care Meeting with the team of doctors treating him to go over his situation and the plan of care. They refused.

After a while, Jeff was really struggling and I knew he needed me, so I tried to get in again. I was refused entrance, so I requested the Hospital Administrator to come speak with me and she did. I finally convinced her to let me see him for 15 minutes. It was so hard to go see him struggling and getting worse, but we remained positive.

He was fighting like hell to get better. He said he was fighting hard because he had a lot of life to live and he had his grandchildren to live for. He was such a good grandpa, and he LOVED being a grandpa.

On July 22nd I pleaded with the doctor to let me come in and see him. I was allowed 15 minutes. He was in rough shape, but he was still fighting. His muscles were total mush at this point, because he had not been out of bed for days and days and not being fed on a regular basis. He lost 47 lbs in 15 days!

I called and checked on him that night. The nurse at 10:00 pm said he had a little ice cream, and he was resting while watching TV which made me happy, but surprised me that he was having ice cream. At 10:35pm the hospital called me in a panic and told me they were putting him on the ventilator because he had a panic attack… BUT only for 3 days to let his body rest...

They asked me if I wanted to FaceTime with him and I said yes. We got about 20 seconds, enough time to tell each other we loved each other... our last I Love You!!! I'll never forget how scared his eyes looked, but I told him everything would be ok. I believed that. I never thought Jeff was going to die.

For the next 20 days that he was on the ventilator, it was a mess. They did all kinds of things to him and telling me a lot of different things. Eventually telling me they were doing everything they could, but he was getting worse. Then the next day things were better. So, the doctors and nurses were all over the place.

I FaceTimed with him every night even though he was in a coma, drugged and paralyzed. I knew he could hear me, so I wanted him to hear my voice everyday. I still was not able to go see him, they told me I would be in the way. They put him on the CRRT (continuous renal replacement therapy) dialysis machine, because now his kidneys were failing.

August 11th, the doctor called me in the morning and told me Jeff was tolerating the CRRT, and that he was playing with the pressures, and things sounded as good as they could be at this point. Then, he called me a short time later and told me Jeff was going to code out! I was in shock and insisted that they let me come in.

They agreed, so my son and I went up there. It was horrific to see him like that. They were only going to let me look at him through the glass to say goodbye. I told them to figure it out because I was going in to be with my husband. They agreed to let me in for a minute or two, so I got to hold my husband and tell him "I love you" for the last time and how sorry I was that this happened to him. We were married for 42 years.

When I came out of the room they started pressuring me to put a DNR on him, and I told them my sons and I need to talk about this. We did and decided that we would NOT put a DNR on him and that this was between Jeff and God. I called and told them that, and that they should do everything to save him at all costs. They screamed and yelled at me on the phone and said that I was going to make them break his ribs and hurt him because this was between God and Jeff.

It was awful how they treated me as my husband lay there dying. They called us a little while later to tell us he died. It was the worst day of my life. I never imagined that taking my healthy 61 yr old husband to the hospital ER to get a simple chest X-ray, and he would end up dying. I now know what they did and why they did it.

I know now that during Jeff’s entire stay at the hospital he was given 6 doses of Remdesivir and many, many extremely powerful drugs to keep him drugged up. He was not given proper nutrition, hydration, basic care and lacked getting him up and moving around, and was isolated for 5 1/2 weeks in that room without his family to support him, make decisions for him, and encourage his healing. He became depressed and beat down. Bathing and cleaning him up was something I had to request, because it was not being done for him. His clothing was not changed. His bedding was not being changed. When I would get upset and ask the nurses to do this, Jeff would say don’t make waves because they are taking it out on me.

It's beyond my understanding that this was an ICU, and this is how he was being taken care of, by the very people who are supposed to take care of him, and make him well and send him home.

Not one time was I asked for consent to do anything or give him any medications. They did what they wanted to do! Jeff never signed anything, nor did we make any decisions about what they were doing to him or giving him. He was told just like I was told. They totally took away his and my rights as his POA (Power of Attorney).

I vow to be my husband's voice and fight for justice if it takes me to my last breath.

Tarpon Springs, FL