Michele, a Carr Hill resident, 58, died on July 29. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and had a long history of illnesses, including Guillain Barré syndrome, due to her weakened immune system.
Despite the two injections, when Michele was admitted to the hospital – and tested positive for Covid – the family learned that they had not developed any antibodies to fight the virus.
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Doctors believe this was due to her body’s reaction to the medication she was taking for arthritis.
Husband Terry also explained that he felt the doctors “weren’t doing their best for my wife” because she had pre-existing conditions.
He and his daughter Kim told ChronicleLive how they wanted to make sure she wasn’t just another statistic.
Kim said, “We want answers and justice. We want more knowledge available that even if you receive two hits, you are not necessarily protected if you are vulnerable.
“I won’t allow him to be just a number.” She was a loving mother and a loving wife.
“Why did they protect for so long and then remove their protection? It leads the sheep to the wolves. People are not aware that they could put themselves in so much danger. “
Terry felt the same. He said he didn’t understand how hundreds of people dying every day “ceased to matter.”
“When you see the number of people dying every day, it’s an absolute shame,” he said. “People think it’s over, and absolutely nothing is being done to protect people.
“They convinced people it was like the flu. This is not the case. It’s absolutely terrifying to see what this does to someone. “
Kim and Terry said when Michele fell ill she quickly became confused and tired, but didn’t show many of the ‘classic’ symptoms of Covid-19 – and at first she was reluctant to go to the hospital because she knew there would be Covid patients there.
However, after several days of deterioration at home, Michele was eventually taken to hospital by ambulance in early July.
“They sent the ambulance and finally on Friday morning she was taken to the hospital,” Kim said. “The doctor called my dad to say she confirmed Covid – she has the infection. “
“I was confused,” added Terry. “It didn’t make sense. How was she so sick? We thought the two hits should at least stop you from that.
“The doctor said that because of her arthritis medication, it didn’t appear that she had the antibodies. I didn’t know why weren’t we aware of this? We’ve been led to believe that once you’ve received a double bite, you might take it badly but not too badly. “
Kim and Terry both said they were not happy with the way doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead treated Michele’s case, they said they felt she was treated differently from patients without pre-existing conditions.
Kim said, “The way the doctors told my dad about mom was like they didn’t want to help him.
“I can’t fault the nurses at all. They were brilliant and went above and beyond and did so much to help us talk to her. But the doctors weren’t very positive. I told them I just wanted them to say they were going to try something. “
Terry said he felt the doctors had “formed an opinion” of his wife based on her disability. “We used to go on vacation with the grandchildren,” he said. “She was active. She was vulnerable but that didn’t stop her from trying to live her life. “
For the family, the big problem is that Michele didn’t know she was putting herself in danger – because she didn’t know that her arthritis treatment could affect how vaccines worked.
Kim said: “She was misled into thinking she would be fine after two hits. It wasn’t until she was admitted that she knew otherwise. She had been told she could go out since she had had two hits. ”
The family’s tragic July also saw Terry’s sister pass away days earlier and a ward away from Michele.
Covid restrictions and having to self-isolate made matters worse, the family said they were unable to even visit their mother after her death.
Terry and Kim both paid homage to Michele, saying that she loved music and animals and that she was “a really wonderful person”.
Terry said, “I started dating Michele when I was 21. She would have been 18 until 19 and that was really a wonderful thing.
“We had known each other since we were children, we lived on the same street. She was such an open person. She was simple and kind, and had a great sense of humor. She was a very good judge of character. When you see the news, the number of people dying – it’s shocking, it’s us.
Kim added, “My mom didn’t stand a chance. She was 58 years old. She still had many years left in her. These people are dying when they shouldn’t. “
The Brown family are now supporting the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group’s call for a public inquiry into the pandemic to begin as soon as possible, and highlighted the crowdfunding campaign in support of this.
The QE Gateshead Hospital Trust has been approached for comment.
If you are a ChronicleLive reader who lost loved ones during the pandemic, contact [email protected]
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