If you’re a fan of the bizarre, you’re in for a real treat. Rod Serling or Alford Hitchcock could never in their wildest of imaginations come close to matching this real-life story.
Let’s preface this tale with the story of an obese 57-year-old woman from California who had no other known health issues. The woman died on February 6 from what the doctors referred to as a sudden heart burst. Perhaps due to the undue strain and pressure her heart was under, it exploded like a cherry bomb on Independence Day.
But during her autopsy, it was discovered or at least reported, how the woman was actually an early casualty of COVID-19. She was given, post-mortem, a test which came back positive. The woman was one of the first in the country whose death was claimed to be contributed to the disease which was only beginning to spread throughout the rest of the nation.
A similar story was just recently reported in Tennessee, but this one has a few additional twists and turns. Imagine the shock when the family of a 66-year-old woman who also passed away in February, Sandra Whittington, just now received a notice to let them know their long-passed relative’s COVID-19 test came back positive.
Considering the woman had been cremated well over four months ago, this was an impossibility unless her urn had been dug up and her ashes were in some way tested.
Whittington’s son, Troy, said, “I’m just having a hard time understanding how they can say someone has COVID-19 when they are not even alive. It’s been six months, almost seven since she passed away. There was no testing that was done at that time. On her death certificate, it was stated she died, what the cause of death was, and it was not COVID-19. It was COPD.”
To make the situation even more bizarre, the letter from the Shelby County Health Department told the family that Sandra was now required to isolate. Perplexed, Troy called the health department and was informed that his mother had been tested on June 20. Considering she had died in February and been cremated shortly after, there was no way.
But this is not the most disturbing part of the story. Even if Sandra had been alive on June 20, and had been tested, the letter didn’t even arrive until August. “We’re talking two months later. She needs to be quarantined for 10, well we’ve got 60 days from the time of the test to get the letter out to her, which is unacceptable,” Troy said.
Shelby County is now aware of the obvious mishap though they still don’t know how or why this could have happened. “Dr. Haushalter is reaching out to Mr. Whittington (Troy) to apologize on behalf of the Health Department about the mistake and the additional pain it might have caused the family,” the health department said in a statement. “She also states that new protocols will be put in place to make sure a mistake like this doesn’t happen again in the future.”
As it turned out, of course, the original diagnosis of COPD was accurate, especially considering how the deceased woman had battled the disease for years and was being cared for, and living with, a longtime friend when she died.
President Trump has promised us a new vaccine that will be ready to go in the very near future, so hopefully, as a nation, we’ll be able to put all of this behind us as we get back to normal. But this certainly doesn’t excuse the error on the part of the Shelby County Health Department. They may still have a little work left to do.