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Sister stays at brother's bedside as he passes from COVID-19: 'I did not want him to die alone'

WHECTV
Updated: May 07, 2020 06:10 PM
Created: May 07, 2020 05:34 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We try hard to make sure people who pass from COVID-19 in our community do not die as a statistic.

Thursday night we have the story of Gerald Hill from his sister who was at his bedside when he took his last breath. 

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"My brother was more than a body in a bed," Diane Hill said. "That was my family."

Hill spoke to me at her apartment door in Rochester. Two days ago she was holding her brother's hand at Strong Memorial Hospital as he was dying. 

Gerald Hill was born in North Carolina. He came to Rochester and got a job at Kodak. He was the father of five. 

Mr. Hill had serious health problems and 12 years ago he moved into what was then called Westgate nursing home in Gates. It is now called Creekview Nursing and Rehabilitation. 

Diane Hill says her brother tested positive for COVID-19 on April 18. She says his condition changed on April 23. She says he was not moved to Strong Memorial Hospital until April 24. 

Diane is critical of that timeline. 

"And somewhere in the back of my mind the longer it took to send him out the more I realized he might pass away," she said.

The nursing home is owned by Centers Health Care out of the New York City area. In an email, it says state health department policy says "residents who are ill but stable are treated at the facility by the clinical staff." If the condition worsens, "they are immediately transferred to a hospital."

The email also said, "We are extremely deeply saddened to hear about the passing of our former resident and well-loved friend, Mr. Gerald Hill."

Many people who die from COVID-19 die alone, especially those in nursing homes and ICUs. But Diane Hill says she tested negative and was able to get inside Strong Memorial Hospital to be at her brother's side.

"My brother is gone and I was there with him when he transitioned," she said. "And that was one of the things I wanted more than anything. I did not want him to die alone."

If you would like us to tell the story of your loved one, please email me at bbrean@whec.com.


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