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20 May, 2020 16:39

Granddad dies of coronavirus, dad denied test & dies, mom sent back home with symptoms: Detroit man shares family tragedy with RT

Granddad dies of coronavirus, dad denied test & dies, mom sent back home with symptoms: Detroit man shares family tragedy with RT

Covid-19 swept through a Detroit family, killing Keith Gambrell’s father and grandfather just hours apart. He told RT his family was the victim of negligence and racism.

“I feel like my dad was pushed to the back of the line for getting the test because he was black,” Keith Gambrell said. “He went to a hospital in an all-white neighborhood. They looked at him and pushed him out the door to go home and die.”

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Keith was speaking about the desperate attempts to confirm what he and other family members already were confident to be true (that his father Gary had Covid-19) and get treatment at a hospital. By that time, his 72-year-old grandfather David already had a positive diagnosis and was fighting for his life hooked to a ventilator machine. But despite contact with a known Covid-19 patient and worsening symptoms of the disease, Gary was repeatedly told to go home, take Tylenol for his fever, and self-isolate “as if he had the virus.”


Keith believes that as a diabetic, Gary was a high-risk patient who deserved a better fighting chance, which he might have gotten if he had a different skin color.

David succumbed to his illness at around midnight on April 6 at the Henry Ford Hospital. Gary died sitting in a recliner at his home hours later, after Keith called him with the sad news.


“I just broke down,” he recalled. “I was mind-boggled. I just talked to my dad six hours ago and now he is gone. Couple of hours after my grandfather had passed.”

As if the harrowing experience was not enough, the family had to go through it again as Keith’s mother Cheryl too was denied the test. She had relatively mild symptoms until Gary’s death, but the next day after his passing it got worse. They took her to a hospital and got an all too familiar response – go back home, take fever meds, acts as if you have Covid-19, we can’t help you.

Luckily, Cheryl managed to beat the disease, but she developed some nasty complications like blood clots in her lungs.

“Now she is home, she is way better, but she is just heartbroken about by grandfather and my dad being gone,” Keith said. “But we are just taking one day at a time.”

Keith in his grief says he realizes that “the government and the whole healthcare system,” which he described as “kinda s****y,” has failed the American people during the epidemic.

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