The death certificate of a 79-year-old South Carolina woman says COVID-19 complications contributed to her death in July – but the testator’s family claims she was never tested or infected with the virus.
Joan Hill died July 31 while taking care of home shelter in Richland County, Hill’s granddaughter Kimberly Klosterman told WIS News.
Klosterman – who said Hill had suffered from dementia for years – told the station that the family received Hill’s death certificate a week later, which listed Alzheimer’s disease and COVID-19 complications as the cause of death.
“That was wrong,” Klosterman said. “She was never tested before or after her death, so I was not sure how this could be listed on her death certificate.”;
Klosterman also said her grandmother showed no signs of the disease leading up to her death.
“She was breathing well,” Klosterman said. “Her lung function was good to the end, so she had no symptoms of COVID.”
Gary Watts, the county coroner who responded to Hill’s death, told the WIS that the coronavirus was never mentioned in his office in her case.
“When we first got the call, he was an Alzheimer’s patient – nothing was mentioned about COVID-19 at the time,” he said.
“It’s certainly something that needs to be answered about why it happened, and who made that decision and why that decision was made if there was no indication at the time of death,” Watts said.
Since Hill was under the care of the guesthouse, the facility doctor signed her death certificate, the report said. Citing privacy restrictions, home care provider Amedisys declined to comment to WIS why it was done if Hill would never take a test.
It is unclear whether Hill’s death was counted in state statistics as either a coronavirus death or a possible COVID-19 death.