‘This could have been avoided’: Gallatin man dies after contracting COVID-19 in nursing home


GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — The daughter of a man who died after contracting COVID-19 in a Gallatin nursing facility says she is upset with the way the center handled the situation.

“I think all this could have been avoided, “Deneen Barr told News 2. “I think they let the old people down. They let them down.”

Deneen Barr is one of Homer Barr’s four children. The 80-year-old was a long-time firefighter who retired in Gallatin.

He had been at the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing for about two years. On Friday, he was one of 24 patients transferred to Sumner Regional Medical Center with symptoms of COVID-19.

He passed away in the night.

“You killed my daddy,” Deneen Barr said of the nursing home. “You put everybody else’s family members at risk. So now are these old people gonna pull through this?”

Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing first confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 earlier in the week and eventually said at least one patient had been diagnosed with the virus, but did not comment on whether any staff members had been diagnosed.

The center stated on Facebook that the staff was wearing protective gear and patients with symptoms were being isolated.

The facility said in a statement Saturday: “We have been preparing for this virus by restricting visitation and requiring all staff to wear PPE before it has been required,” adding that staff is screened multiple times per shift.

“This is incompetent and they should get the full brunt of the law that’s allowed… because when the first person had this, they should’ve got the people out of there,” Barr said.

She added that she was never notified that her father was ill, but also explained her brother has power-of-attorney and the two do not speak to one another.

“I had left my number with the nurses station though a long time ago,” she said. “They could’ve called me.”

Barr said she called the hospital Saturday morning and found out her father had died.

“This is a neglect. They were wrong, just wrong. And look at all these other people,” she said. “It’s not just me and my family that got to go through this. They’ll probably die too if they’re not strong enough to pull through.”

As of Saturday night, 23 other patients from the facility remained in isolation at Sumner Regional Medical Center.

“These people are sick and if you don’t take your job serious, you just go in there for a check, that’s not the place to do it. Because these people are dependent on you for their lives,” she explained.

The center also said in its statement: “We will continue to do all that we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients and staff.”

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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