Editor’s note: The story has been updated to include the results of two separate reviews/investigations into the matter
APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – October 13, 2021, will be a day that the Schara family will never forget. It was the day Grace, a 19-year-old with down syndrome died from acute respiratory failure and pneumonia due to COVID-19.
Grace died under the care of doctors and nurses at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Appleton and her father Scott believes her death was easily preventable.
There were investigations done by state and federal agencies. The investigations were done following a complaint by Scott. Both investigations resulted in saying that the case did not warrant any further investigation into the complaints.
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Department of Health & Human Services were the two agencies that reviewed the matter. The letters sent to Scott with the results of the investigations were posted on a website that appears dedicated to Grace.
“What happened was we brought her to the hospital on October 6,” explained Scott to Local 5 News. “She had low oxygen related to COVID-19 and ultimately checked her into the hospital.”
Doctors said Grace needed to be put on oxygen and a steroid for a couple of days to stabilize her breathing before she could go home.
The second cause of Grace’s death according to her death certificate was Pneumonia due to COVID-19, something Scott says is a “flat out lie.”
Grace had a ‘do not resuscitate order’ placed on her, with her family saying was not consensual.
Now, after her death, the Schara family has dedicated their time to bringing awareness to the incident and organized a protest outside the hospital.
Scott went on to tell Local 5 News that not all hospitals are bad, as he was saved just days after Grace’s death by medical staff from a different establishment.
“I don’t want to make that claim because I went to a different hospital three days after Grace died and they saved my life and I was in substantially worse condition than Grace,” explained Scott.
Local 5 reached out to Ascension, which operates St. Elizabeth Hospital, but declined to comment.
Scott, as expected, was a little emotional talking about his favorite memories with Grace and said she was one of the kindest, sweetest girls you’d ever meet.
“Grace was my best buddy,” said Scott. “She was my wife’s best friend. Most people don’t know somebody with down syndrome. With down syndrome they just want to hug you and you know Grace, that was the thing I miss the most when I get home.”