The family of Petros Michaels, also known as Peter, has a lot of questions about his final moments. The 81 year old died at the New York Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Astoria, Queens. They claim the facility did not tell them the severity of his illness, until it was too late.
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“One of the nurses says, 'Your grandfather is doing fine, but he has a fever and we are giving him medication for the fever,'” said Petros Demetriou, Michaels’ grandson. Petros, who shares his name grandfather’s name, is speaking out only to NY1.
He says that on April 13, about a week after that conversation, their family got a completely different call from the nursing supervisor.
“Hi, I’m calling to inform you that your father Peter Michaels has expired,” Demetriou said of the message he received from the nursing home. “You guys are calling a family and saying your family member has expired, like it’s a meter ticket.”
In the days before and after Michaels' passing, the family says they started to hear from other families about residents at the center dying of coronavirus. They say when they called the center, they got mixed messages.
“You’re telling us you’re not testing anyone for COVID-19,” Demetriou said. “On another end, we’re being told that people are dying of this in your facility.”
The family says two letters were mailed out by the New York Center. They both informed families that they are treating COVID-19 cases, but the dates are different, April 6 and April 8.
“Why didn’t, of all people, we didn’t get the letter dated April 6. My grandfather was still alive,” Demetriou said.
NY1 emailed and called New York Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing several times, but didn’t get get a response on the allegations.
We are also waiting to hear back from the City’s Departments of Health and Aging, as Michaels’ loved ones also wait.
“He was always really outspoken, always speaking his mind saying whatever comes to the tongue. I personally think I got that from him,” Demetriou said.
It’s a trait from his grandfather that will hopefully lead to some closure.