The following Op-Ed was written by Susan Williams who is Shirley Herrin’s daughter. Herrin passed away in October at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena Mt. Williams explains in detail the trauma her mother endured at the hands of “hospital staff” due to ‘protocol.’
We place a sacred trust in doctors and hospitals to help heal us when we’re ill and vulnerable. After the nightmare I experienced with Covid and the hospital system, sadly I believe that trust is misplaced. In many facilities across the country, care, discernment, and compassion have been replaced with protocols, politics, profit, and a rigid disregard for the well-being of patients and their families. My mother paid the consequences with her life, and I hope that by telling my story, lives may be saved.
On October 8th, another family member took my mother to the ER where she was given a Covid diagnosis. Her heart rate and blood pressure were good so she was sent home with oxygen. The doctors commented on how healthy and strong she was for her age and we expected things to clear up soon. Several days later she returned to the hospital as her breathing was not improving. This time she was admitted.
I immediately called and spoke with several nurses to tell them I did not want my mother to be given Remdesivir or to be put on a ventilator; both common, yet dangerous Covid protocols in the hospital (and for which the hospital receives a monetary kickback). In our research, we’d discovered that these treatments had proven not only to be largely ineffective but even harmful at times.
My research also revealed that there were many tried and tested Covid treatments used by clinicians in the US and around the world. Almost every country but the United States uses Ivermectin, for instance, to treat Covid because it’s safe, inexpensive, and highly effective. My mother’s personal physician had prescribed Ivermectin, (because he knows it works) yet the doctors and administrators at the hospital refused to give it to her, stating that it did not align with the hospital’s protocol. (Covid has ushered in a new era of authoritarian rules and regulations that have come down from the federal government; specifically, Dr. Fauci whose always-changing Covid recommendations have proven to be arbitrary and ineffective.) Current hospital protocol is aligned with federal regulations for liability’s sake and does not take into account the science and evidence of other effective Covid treatments, or the wishes of the patient.
I arrived at the hospital on October 12 and immediately headed for my mother’s room to have her sign ‘Power of Attorney’ papers so I could advocate for her medical care. When I got there, I was told she was not allowed any visitors. A security guard told me to return the next day to see my mother and sign the paperwork. I insisted on seeing my mother, and at this point, the Highway Patrol was called. I filled out a complaint against the hospital and was made to leave.
On October 13th, my aunt and I decided to give my mother the Ivermectin her personal doctor had prescribed. After five days, we could see marked improvement, but when the hospital found out we had given it to her, they told us to stop. On October 18th my mother had been moved to a different room so I asked the doctor why she was moved and other questions about her condition. Even after telling him, I had Power of Attorney, he refused to speak with me, agreeing only to speak with my sister who lives out of state. Feeling very uncomfortable with his unwillingness to speak with me, his patient’s legal advocate, I asked that he be removed from her care team. At this point he called security and the police. At no point did I act belligerently or threateningly. I was reasonable and simply wanted to speak about my mother’s treatment. Fear and intimidation are favorite tactics when politics is involved in-hospital care and this is happening across the country. Question the treatment plan or suggest alternative treatments and be prepared to be blocked from seeing loved ones or kicked out altogether. I told the police what happened and filed a complaint against the doctor.
I was prohibited from seeing my mother for 3 more heart-wrenching days. During this time I wasn’t allowed back in until my mother wrote a note to Dr. Perry asking me to be let in. I was thrilled to finally visit her and to see she was improving. Things were looking up and we expected to return home in a few days.
Unfortunately, when I returned the next day she was breathing heavily. Her face and arms were also extremely swollen. The hospital had given her steroids and Dexamethasone which turned out not to improve her condition, and in fact, she began getting worse. I began to think that bringing her home was her only hope. The hospital wouldn’t allow it, however, because she was on oxygen.
As my mothers’ conditioned worsened, we continued to pray for a miracle even as the doctors discussed end-of-life decisions. The doctor told us that they would not do CPR to save my mother unless she was put on the ventilator (even though it’s not necessary for CPR).
I spent that night with my mother; it would be the last I’d ever spend with her. The grief is overwhelming and especially painful given the fact that had her treatment been different, the outcome may have been different. I’ve learned several lessons that I hope can help others in this situation:
- Go to the hospital as a last resort. Hospitals are corporations encumbered with bureaucratic and political guidelines which, for liability’s sake, they are terrified to vary from; even if it means withholding quality, life-saving care.
- Effective Covid treatments exist; but despite the evidence and tests that demonstrate this, they are avoided – and often prohibited- for reasons I can only assume are political. (Think endless vaccines and big pharma, but that’s a different article.)
- Be prepared! Do your own research, speak with doctors who will listen to the full body of Covid science, and even reach out to legal counsel to understand your options in the event that you’re prohibited from seeing loved ones or blocked from treatment you wish to receive.
- Be strong and don’t back down. In this environment where political dogma and protocols trump effective treatment, you must advocate for yourself and your family members.