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Brian Boyd, Editor, Shore Publishing/


July 11, 2020
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What Went Wrong?

Published June 17, 2020

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I was thrilled to read that 103 year-old Isabella Meder, who contracted COVID-19 at Madison House, survived and is doing well [June 4 story “103 Year-Old Madison House Resident Beats Coronavirus”].

Isabella was in the room across from my mother. They would wave and smile and blow kisses across the hall. However, I can’t help thinking about the 16 residents who died of COVID-19. Tragically, my mother was one of them.

My mother’s name was Gloria Peragine. She was 94 years young and had three children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, the youngest of which she was looking forward to holding for the first time in June. The last time I saw her was through a glass door on April 15. On April 22, she tested positive and died alone at Yale New Haven Hospital on May 11.

With Madison House closing its doors to the outside world on March 10, I thought the residents would be isolated, protected, and somehow spared. That was not the case. On June 2, according to the Connecticut Department of Health there were 46 cases and 16 deaths.

What went wrong? I am relieved to hear that Governor Ned Lamont is ordering an investigation into how the pandemic was handled in nursing homes. Nursing home deaths have been attributed to more than 60 percent of the total COVID deaths in Connecticut.

We absolutely should celebrate Isabella’s recovery, but think of the disproportionate number of families of those living at Madison House who do not get to celebrate and have to mourn alone.

Nursing homes need to do better, particularly if there is going to be a second wave. What a senseless tragedy. Members of our most cherished and vulnerable population were sitting ducks. They deserved better than this.

Teri Phillips