LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A San Gabriel man died Monday after experiencing flu-like symptoms, but his widow said doctors never tested him for the novel coronavirus despite his worsening symptoms.
Julio Ramirez was 43, a father of two and the picture of health, according to his wife Julie Murillo.
“No medical conditions that I knew of,” she said. “And he’s never been on meds.”
Murillo said her husband started getting sick last Monday after traveling domestically through Los Angeles International Airport. She said he told her that he sat next to someone who was coughing.
“That’s when he called Kaiser to see if he could go in because he was having fever, he was achey and he started getting like a little dry cough,” Murillo said.
Murillo, Ramirez’s wife of three years, said his doctor at Kaiser Downey prescribed him Tamiflu and cough medicine over the phone. And on Wednesday, she said Ramirez called Kaiser again.
“And a doctor was supposed to call him back,” she said. “And he said he never got a call back.”
By Friday, Murillo said Ramirez was struggling to breathe so she took him to an urgent care facility.
“They started asking questions, but they were more concerned if he had traveled outside the county, not in the states,” she said.
Murillo said her husband was taken to an empty room and a doctor called him over the phone. She said he was given an x-ray and was told someone would call him with the results.
She said he was never examined by a doctor or tested for the novel coronavirus.
“I think that when they saw me pushing him in a wheelchair and seeing that he couldn’t breathe that they should have, somebody should have physically seen him,” she said through tears.
On Monday morning, Murillo found her husband dead in his bed. She was tested for the virus on Monday and has been self-quarantined ever since — waiting for the results and grieving alone.
“I am to the point that I get paranoid that if I am crying and I have a runny nose, is that one of the symptoms,” she said.
Kaiser Permanente said it could not comment on the case due to patient privacy, but said that they are committed to giving patients adequate and proper care.
The coroner’s office said it would not do an autopsy because Kaiser said Ramirez died of pneumonia, so Murillo is paying for an independent autopsy to find out if her husband died of the coronavirus.