Family claims paramedics convinced man with COVID-19 not to go to hospital before he died
Officials said they are reviewing the call after family members claimed Andrew Norman, 41, died four hours after medics talked him out of going to the hospital
Domingo Ramirez Jr.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
EULESS, Texas — A Euless man with COVID-19 symptoms was talked out of going to a local hospital by paramedics and died in his home just a few hours later, his family said.
Test results received after his death indicated 41-year-old Andrew Norman had COVID-19, his family said Thursday.
The family called 911 on July 18, and Grapevine paramedics responded because Euless paramedics were busy, according to Norman’s sister. Norman signed a refusal of treatment form after a Grapevine paramedic told him, “OK, we can take you to the hospital if you want, but I’m just warning you that you are probably going to be in waiting in a waiting room alone for hours, and by the time they get to you, they are gonna tell you to go home because there is no cure for this virus,” Norman’s sister, Michelle Tyler, wrote on social media.
Michelle Tyler also said during the time the Grapevine paramedics and a Euless fire lieutenant were at the family’s home, they never took her brother’s vital signs.
Grapevine paramedics and the Euless fire official left the home, but the family called 911 a second time about four hours later when Norman’s body began to “completely shut down,” Tyler wrote. Euless paramedics arrived and tried to revive Norman, but he died.
“Any call involving the Euless Fire Department that results in a loss of life is taken very seriously and all aspects of the call response are thoroughly reviewed,” said Euless City Manager Loretta Getchell in an email to the Star-Telegram. “We express our sincerest condolences to the members of this family.”
Getchell said the City of Euless Fire Department did respond to a call on July 18 at the noted address, and Euless fire officials requested mutual aid from a City of Grapevine medic as Euless medics were on other calls.
“Mutual aid response is the normal protocol when call volume is high,” Getchell said. “The patient was not transported as a result of this call.”
Grapevine officials could not be reached Friday for comment.
Norman was pronounced dead July 18 in his northeast Euless home, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office website. A ruling on his death is pending.
As of Thursday, Tarrant County had confirmed more than 23,900 COVID-19 cases, 319 deaths and at least 11,680 recoveries.
Michelle Tyler gave this timeline of her brother’s illness and death:
On July 8, Norman came down with a fever, and the family quarantined him because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Norman went to a local CVS store and was tested for COVID-19 on July 11, but didn’t receive the results right away.
From July 11 to July 17, Norman’s fever fluctuated, and he developed a slight cough and other symptoms. He told his family that he felt like he had the flu.
On Saturday morning, July 18, Norman’s mother checked on him and he was significantly worse, having severe breathing problems, and so weak he could barely walk.
“Since my brother, in general, has never needed a doctor or hospital, when he asked my mom to go, we knew it was serious,” Tyler wrote on Facebook.
The family called 911 late that morning. A Euless dispatcher told the family they were busy and that Grapevine paramedics would respond as soon as possible.
The family managed to move Norman downstairs to a living room couch in anticipation of paramedics needing to check him.
Tyler said a Euless fire lieutenant arrived first, but he never entered the home. He asked Norman to come outside to talk to him about his health. Norman sat on a bench outside, while the lieutenant stood several feet away, she said.
Grapevine paramedics arrived, suited up from head to toe, and began asking Norman questions. Because Norman was having trouble breathing, Tyler answered some of the questions.
Tyler did not identify the lieutenant or the Grapevine paramedics.
After one Grapevine paramedic finished asking questions, he made the comments to Norman saying the hospital probably wouldn’t able to do anything to help him, Tyler said.
The Grapevine paramedic called COVID-19 a bad flu and told the family to keep giving Norman fluids and watch his symptoms, she said.
Family members said the paramedics did not take any vital signs, and told them to keep doing what they had been doing and if Norman’s condition got worse, to call 911 again.
Norman then signed a refusal form and was left at his home.
Four hours later, family members called 911 a second time as Norman’s condition became worse. Euless paramedics arrived and spent almost 30 minutes to revive him.
Norman died at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday.
Tyler said she and her family are aware that medic teams are exhausted because of the pandemic.
“These are the people we are supposed to turn to when we are distraught and need help,” Tyler wrote on Facebook. “To be turned away has us feeling nothing but defeat.”
“I pray no one else goes through that,” she wrote.
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