March 6, 2021

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Girl mourns father’s nursing household death: ‘He had nobody with him’

His name is Carlos Gallegos. He was a beloved 80-yr-old father, grandfather and terrific-grandfather who attended every loved ones gathering and loved his ex-spouse with his complete coronary heart till the day he died. 

Gallegos was a single of tens of countless numbers of nursing home people who succumbed to COVID-19 in a facility considerably absent from his loved types. 

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It was a day his daughter, Maria Porteus, will in no way overlook. 

Early in the pandemic, additional than 9,000 recovering coronavirus clients in New York state ended up produced from hospitals into nursing properties underneath the Cuomo administration’s March 25 directive, according to new information attained by The Associated Push. What ended up going on to Gallegos was a nightmare to Porteus and droves of family members whose cherished types lived in very long-time period treatment amenities. 

Maria Porteus holds up a signal of her father Carlos Gallegos (Maria Porteus)

Porteus’ father was one particular of almost 15,000 seniors in New York who died in a care facility. 

Porteus and her relatives lived only a few miles from the care center located in St. James, New York, and had visited Gallegos generally. He loved to wander about and was often in attendance for relatives holidays, Porteus instructed Fox Information. 

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“He was these types of a regular in our lives,” Porteus said. “Each vacation, just about every holiday vacation … my father was section of every thing that we did.” 

His household was always by his aspect. That finished, nonetheless, in late March when Porteus and her spouse and children have been told they could not pay a visit to their father for his birthday and could only see him more than FaceTime. 

By March 30, 5 times immediately after the mandate went into outcome, a nurse termed Porteus to notify her that her father was working a 102-degree fever. It was also the first time it was at any time disclosed to her that there experienced been a mandate.

“Her response to me was ‘there was a mandate set by the condition and we had to bring in covid good people into the facility,'” Porteus said. 

For about a week, the household desperately tried to contact the nursing residence. 

Porteus was constantly “contacting, seeking to get an answer, striving to uncover out how he was,” she claimed. “It was just hard to even get by way of to the nursing home.”

By the time she received keep of a nurse, Porteus was educated that her father’s fever wasn’t heading down. At that level, she demanded to be let in. 

Carlos Gallegos and his grandson Daniel Porteus. (Maria Porteus)

Carlos Gallegos and his grandson Daniel Porteus. (Maria Porteus)

“And I have to convey to you, what I saw was terrible. What I saw was terrible,” she explained. “You could listen to him having difficulties with the breathing … It sounded like firecrackers heading off on his chest. You could just hear the congestion.” 

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For Porteus, and the relaxation of her family, it has been tricky to grapple with the considered that they weren’t even offered a probability to advocate for him. 

“Why couldn’t we have been specified a very little bit of a heads up to have manufactured that conclusion to consider him out?” she stated. 

Gallegos died on April 9.

Porteus remembers the working day vividly as she and her spouse were waiting outside the house in the parking great deal by his window. 

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“I was just sitting there and knowing my father is there and he was dying and there was nothing at all, almost nothing I could do, practically nothing any of us could do,” she mentioned. 

Porteus could not bear the considered that a male, who was so existing in their lives, experienced to die alone. 

“I really don’t feel ever he was Alright with this happening by itself,” she said. “Where by was his household? Wherever were being his kids? You know, his grandchildren? He had no person with him.” 

Right after his loss of life, Porteus wrote letters to the Cuomo administration, the condition health and fitness office and her father’s nursing property.

She required solutions, an apology, anything at all. She under no circumstances got a response, “not even an ‘I’m so sorry this happened’,” she said. 

To this day she firmly thinks her father’s demise could have been prevented. 

“I did not feel my father at 80 was heading to live without end, but there was no way that anyone can notify me that this must have transpired now, the way that it did,” Porteus said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.