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People dying at home

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Tabitha111 View Drop Down
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    Posted: July 10 2020 at 6:55am 

As coronavirus surges, Houston confronts its hidden toll: People dying at home

Houston is seeing a spike in residents dying at home, before paramedics can reach them. A growing number are testing positive for COVID-19.

HOUSTON — When Karen Salazar stopped by to check on her mother on the evening of June 22, she found her in worse shape than she expected. Her mother, Felipa Medellín, 54, had been complaining about chest pains and fatigue, symptoms that she attributed to a new diabetes treatment she’d started days earlier.

Medellín, who had seen a doctor that day, insisted she was fine. But Salazar, 29, noticed that when Medellín lay down, her chest was rising and falling rapidly — as if she couldn’t catch her breath.

“I grabbed her hand and I said: ‘I’m sorry. I know you don’t want to go to the hospital, but I’m calling the ambulance,’” Salazar said.

While Salazar was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, her mother suddenly passed out. Then she stopped breathing.

“Mom! Mom!” Salazar remembers shouting, trying to rouse her.

Image: Karen Salazar holds a picture of her mother, Felipa Medell?n, outside of her mother's home in Houston on July 7, 2020.

With the dispatcher on speaker phone, Salazar attempted CPR, repeatedly pressing her hands down on her mother’s chest, silently praying for her to startle back to life. But by the time Houston paramedics arrived at her home in northwest Houston, Medellín was dead.

Days later, an autopsy revealed the primary cause: COVID-19.

“We never thought it was COVID,” Salazar said. “We didn’t even realize she had it.”

Medellín’s death is part of a troubling trend in Houston.


The uptick in the number of people dying before they can even reach a hospital in Houston draws parallels to what happened in New York City in March and April, when there was a spike in the number of times firefighters responded to medical calls, only to discover that the person in need of help had already died. These increases also echo those reported during outbreaks in Detroit and Boston, when the number of people dying at home jumped as coronavirus cases surged.

While far more people died of COVID-19 in those cities than have died so far in Houston, researchers and paramedics say that the trend of sudden at-home deaths in Texas’ largest city is concerning because it shows that the virus's toll may be deeper than what appears in official death tallies and daily hospitalization reports.


Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said the surge in at-home deaths reflects the nature of the way COVID-19 attacks the body. Early on, he said, doctors were focused on respiratory symptoms, but case studies in New York and elsewhere showed the virus also causes serious heart problems that can lead to sudden deaths.

“And it seems to be happening both early and late in the course of the illness,” Hotez said. “So patients are recovering and then they’ll come home from the hospital and they’ll die. Or they were never diagnosed, and the first manifestation is sudden death. So that’s a very frightening aspect of COVID-19 and why we need to work so hard to slow the spread, because you don’t even get the chance to seek medical attention.”


After her mother died so suddenly, Salazar said she and her siblings have been in a constant state of panic, worried that their father or another loved one could be next. Salazar’s mother had health problems before she contracted COVID-19, but none that were immediately life threatening.

Salazar told her dad that, after trying and failing to revive her mother with chest compressions, she wanted to take CPR lessons.

“At least then I will know what to do if this ever happens again to someone else I love,” she said. “Because right there in the moment, you just go blank.”

[more at link]

'A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.'

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roni3470 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote roni3470 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2020 at 9:56am

Well this is scary!!

NOW is the Season to Know

that Everything you Do

is Sacred
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