Judy Welch had bad Covid-19 experience at Piedmont Fayette

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3 trips to ER, turned back twice; nobody told her she also had developed sepsis until she read her own chart —  

A Fayette County woman says she will no longer seek medical treatment at Piedmont Fayette Hospital after her recent experiences in April that took three trips to the hospital before she was tested, and found to be positive, for Covid-19.

Judy Welch said on March 27 she began experiencing fever and flu-like symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, even though she had not been out of her home for two weeks. On April 3 her daughter took Welch, 58, to the Piedmont Fayette Emergency Department.

Welch said she was there for approximately 45 minutes, and was released to go back home after being told by a doctor that, “I had stomach flu and it needed to run its course.”

The symptoms continued, and on April 6 Welch said she was transported by ambulance back to the Emergency Department with her chest hurting, and adding that she had not eaten for days.

An X-ray and MRI were ordered, with Welch saying she was told that she had fluid in her lungs and that she may have Covid-19.

“I had spots on my lungs and in my intestines,” Welch explained. “The doctor said I might be positive for Covid-19, but that tests for the virus are only given to people who were admitted.”

Welch said she was given two bags of IV saline and did feel better after getting fluids in her system. She was advised to monitor for fever or difficulties breathing.

She was again released, though it was during the late-night hours that she began having difficulty breathing and a fever, and again called 911.

“I asked to go to Southern Regional, but they refused me and sent me to Piedmont Fayette,” said Welch. “When I got to Piedmont Fayette, I saw a female doctor, and she asked why I kept coming back. I reminded her what she had told me before. She looked at me and walked out of the room.”

Welch said she was told that she would be given antibiotics and sent home, and that the only way she could be tested would be if she were admitted. While still at the hospital, the doctor also ordered a check of her lungs by a respiratory team.

“The doctor came in after the test and said I would be admitted and tested for Covid-19,” Welch said, as she continued to describe the events of April 7.

Welch said she was admitted on the fourth floor and was tested, with the test coming in on April 8. She had tested positive for Covid-19.

Welch said while admitted she was also being treated for sepsis, though she maintains she was not told she had the condition. Welch said she found out after she got out of bed and read her chart.

“They never told me they were treating me for sepsis,” said Welch. “Not only did I have to fight the virus. I had to fight sepsis.”

Welch said she was discharged on April 11, and has since filed a complaint against two doctors with a Georgia Composite Medical Board.

Quarantined at home until April 25, Welch said she is still on oxygen but feels better and is “getting better every day.”

As for her recent experiences, Welch said, “I will never go back to Piedmont Fayette.”

Asked for a response pertaining to the statements by Welch, Piedmont Healthcare said it “cannot comment on patients on their conditions because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects patient privacy.”

Piedmont was also asked about procedures being used currently for testing for Covid-19, and if those procedures were in place on April 3.

“Piedmont Healthcare’s testing criteria have been adjusted according to availability and appropriate clinical guidelines as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As we have added testing within our organization and therefore expanded our testing capacity, we’ve been able to test people with mild symptoms. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, our message regarding treatment of COVID-19 has been consistent. For those without symptoms or with mild symptoms, they should stay home and follow CDC guidelines for self-isolation. If patients have severe symptoms that are getting worse, our guidance is to go to an emergency room,” Piedmont Healthcare said.

27 COMMENTS

  1. I just don’t understand the logic in telling someone they may have Covid 19 and sending them home. I mean really, I hate to sound like this but back in the day, the infected were removed from society as to avoid further contamination. They were called Leaper Colonies for a reason. You must remove the sick from the healthy, now we are wanting the healthy to avoid the sick. It just seems back-ass wards. By sending Mrs Welch back home to spread the virus around all those that may have been near her, Her family, the mail person, the lonely chick fil a cashier. Yet if they would have just put her on one of those boats out at sea and forced any and all the folks who had showed any signs of this virus back on March 9, it would have only taking two weeks to wipe this virus out. I’m sorry but the many outweigh the few. Every generation in history has separated the sick from the heard. If not we would have died off long ago. This generation has decided to hide in a hole and hope the virus will just pass by like its a tornado, or something. If this virus was affecting our young, it would have been done. I guess that is the saving grace here, the children appear to be spared, at least for now.

  2. I am curious about her exposure. She says she hadn’t left her home in 2 weeks. Does someone else live with her? Did she come in contact with any delivery drivers, etc? Or was she exposed to the virus and literally didn’t have any symptoms until exactly 2 weeks later?

    I am sorry to hear about her experience. I haven’t had the best ER experiences at Piedmont Fayette and I can only imagine what the workers are going through at this time. It’s interesting that they are only testing people that are admitted to the hospital. I hope Judy and all others continue to recover and heal from this.

    • Thank you for your concern I went to the emergency room April 3 2020… But I was sick all week prior like I started feeling bad March 27 with flu like symptoms so from March 27-April 3 I was very sick couldn’t eat food or water wouldn’t stay down so I went to emergency room on April 3 and I believe I contracted it there and 3 days later April 6 I’m back in the hospital emergency room sent home and returned April 7 which then I was admitted then tested

  3. This is a tough story from an emergency room that in good times sees upwards of 80,000 patients a year, almost half of whom come from outside Fayette County. Add to that the crush of a virus pandemic, and how much more can our medical community handle? Next month I finish my third and final term on the board of directors of Piedmont Fayette Hospital, and I can say without hesitation that during my time of service, there have been hundreds of stories and letters of gratitude from patients and families that support the superhuman efforts of the medical first responders in our hospital that work day and night trying to alleviate the suffering of all kinds of people with all kinds of problems. Fortunately for all of us, a patient’s privacy is second in importance only to the safety and quality of the diagnosis and treatment they receive. As one of the non-medical members of the board, chosen from the community, I have been privileged to attend many committee meetings and safety huddles devoted solely to maintaining the incredibly high level of excellence this hospital has achieved. I can honestly say that even when stretched to the breaking point, with the emergency room busting at the seams with patients, the doctors, nurses and staff have stiffened the sinews, done their duty, and saved many, many lives. There is a reason Piedmont Fayette Hospital is the only hospital in Georgia that has been selected as one of the top 50 hospitals in the nation seven years in a row. We need to be proud of our hospital. It is a treasure in our community. It’s never good to have a dissatisfied patient, but let’s not ignore the thousands of very thankful and satisfied people who have been served, and continue to be served by these first responders. Our medical people need our full and unflagging support in these unprecedented times.

  4. I hate to see anyone have a bad experience anywhere, but a healthcare facility or doctor cannot respond due to HIPPA laws. Ben – you’re my buddy, but I don’t think a story should post when the other side can’t get a voice

    • Ben I believe the article is fair. The patient can be asked to agree to release that portion of the HIPPA laws that would apply to this situation. The hospital is only using that as an excuse. The public deserves to know what happened so that the hospital can correct their problems.

      • How is it fair without knowing the entire picture? HIPPA laws are tantamount to a court gag order. While this may be 100% accurate and I have no reason to doubt this patient, there are times they don’t tell you everything. I had a chiropractic patient who gave me a great review on Google while leaving a horrible review for an excellent doctor at a nearby pain management facility. That particular patient has been an opioid addict for several years. The doctor can’t respond by saying “I received this bad review because I wouldn’t prescribe him / her Percoset”. That’s a true story.

      • Thank YOU I have no reason to lie!!!! This happened to me!!! I could have died from sepsis alone!!!! I had alot more things that happened time during the stay as well… Like my iv started bleeding and the machine was saying AIR in the line!!! And the nurses took their time coming to my room AFTER I pressed the button over 30 times!!!

    • Why?? You think it’s not fair?? He asked them to speak but the used HIPPA!!! I WILL RELEASE MY RECORDS of need be they are exposed and I’m not the only person this happened to did you see Fox news today about another lady going thru the day thing

  5. Sad to hear. We have felt that the quality of care has gone down for several years as Piedmont has bought up delivery systems. They tout their awards but the experience doesn’t match. Perhaps they are too big to succeed.

    • What you say, very well may be true. I can’t speak to any decline as I’ve only been there once – for an outpatient procedure. I am not discounting this woman’s experience either. I worked in one of their sister hospitals for a few years and what I can say, is Piedmont strives for patient satisfaction. Do they falter – absolutely. That’s the nature of the beast.

      With that said, there’s been an underlying problem with testing right from the start. Assigning blame will come later, but no one can deny that testing has been abysmal. Flawed testing criteria, access to tests, faulty test kits – each one of these caused the problems we are seeing today. We were told, whoever needs a test, will get a test. What they didn’t tell us, is that they would decide what criteria was used, to warrant said test. They restricted tests because there weren’t enough reliable test kits to go around. These hospitals and doctors were following orders given to them. Their hands were/are tied. The experience this woman had, has been experienced by many, many others throughout the country. I mean, you show all the markers for having the virus, but because you’re not sick enough, you’re told to go home. Come back to us when you’re sick enough to be admitted, they said. Come back when it will cost a whole lot more to treat you, they said. The whole thing is FUBAR.