Delaware man hospitalized after DHSS gave him wrong COVID-19 results
BRIDGEVILLE, Del. – “Had he never been hospitalized yesterday would I have ever received a phone call?” That’s the question Katey Evans has been wrestling with since her husband was hospitalized with COVID-19 Thursday, after being told on Tuesday by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services incorrectly told her husband that he tested negative.
Last Friday the entire Evans family got tested at the Walgreens in Bridgeville, after their daughter had tested positive for the virus just days before. Tuesday they got their results from DHSS, everyone had come back negative, including her daughter.
Early Thursday morning Kevin, Katey’s husband, who had been sick, took a turn for the worst. Around 2am Katey awoke to him vomiting, suffering from dizziness and dehydration. Hours later he was rushed to the hospital, fading in and out of consciousness.
Katey was convinced it couldn’t be coronavirus, because their results had been negative. However doctors at Beebe went back and looked at Kevin’s results, this time reading them correctly. Kevin had actually tested positive.
“All kinds of emotions ran through me. Who is right? Is Beebe right or is Department of Health right and how can the reporting be misconstrued?,” Katey said.
Coincidentally enough, minutes after getting the news from Beebe, DHSS called her again asking if she had gotten her results. She said, she had, but wanted to hear them again. Again, DHSS said everyone had come back negative. At that point Katey asked for a supervisor and got Sen. Brian Pettyjohn on the call too.
Then things began to unravel. The supervisor told her Kevin had actually tested positive. So Katey asked for the previous employee to get on the phone again, trying to figure how she was now getting two different results from DHSS.
“The lady says well there’s been a mistake. She said I’m sorry I mistakenly read his results, I didn’t understand them and she said I’ve misreported them,” Katey said.
That’s when Sen. Pettyjohn took action, sounding the alarm at DHSS. What they uncovered that was out of nearly 2,800 tests from Walgreens, DHSS had incorrectly told 12 people that they were negative, including Katey’s husband.
47 ABC reached out to DHSS for a statement on what happened. A spokesperson said in part “All individuals involved have already been contacted by DPH, and we apologized for the uncertainty the error has caused…the problem was identified and internal system improvements have eliminated the possibility of this recurring.”
Sen. Pettyjohn told 47ABC he was thankful they acted quickly, but admitted the state had made a terrible error.
“Yeah the state dropped the ball and one of the things that I’m actually pleased about is that the Department of Public Health saw there was a problem they owned it and they did everything they could to reach out and rectify that as soon as possible,” Sen. Pettyjohn said.
But for Katey, the problem with the state wasn’t over, after being promised twice her husband was the only positive by DHSS she got yet another phone call from the Chief Physician of the state.
“At 245 pm my phone rings again after I had gotten back home and it was Dr. Pescatore himself again and he says ‘Katey I want to apologize I misread the results again, he says your daughter is COVID positive,” Katey said.
For Katey, she says she not sure what to believe now. What she does know, her husband is COVID-19 positive.
“I’ve never heard my husband sob the way he has cried to me on the phone through all of this because he said to me, he said Katey I have been more scared of being on the brink of death, he said I literally thought I was going to die,” Katey said.
But as for her daughter results and the results of others handled by DHSS, she says she has zero trust.
“It’s scary because my husbands health is in their hands right now in the hospital and I would have had him there Tuesday because he needed medical attention before this,” Katey said.
The silver lining in all of this though Katey says, by Friday afternoon her husband was in stable condition and her daughter was fine.