911 calls reveal patients with respiratory issues before COVID-19 evacuations at Gallatin nursing home

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GALLATIN, Tenn.(WKRN) – More than 150 patients and staff at a nursing home in Gallatin have tested positive for COVID-19, an attorney taking legal action against the facility tells News 2 there are now 26 deaths. News 2 obtained the 911 calls placed in the weeks leading up to the nursing home’s evacuation.

Two separate calls for patients in respiratory distress at the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing were placed on March 14th and 15th.

911 Dispatcher: I do have to ask, anyone there been exposed to coronavirus?

Gallatin Center Employee: No.

On March 21, a family member calls 911 concerned about her 78-year-old great aunt, “She’s fell three times and the nurses have called me and said she’s acting different,” the woman tells dispatch that the nurses told her to call, “Because the nurse practitioner will not call,” she said.

On March 23rd, the nursing home posted on Facebook that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19, assuring the public that they had been wearing proper protective equipment and did not return to work after showing symptoms.

Two days later, March 25th, came the first call of a patient in respiratory distress with a high grade fever. While the employee admits she doesn’t know anything about the patient, she denies the patient’s exposure to COVID-19.

Dispatcher: How old is the patient?
Employee: Sorry she was on another unit and they transferred her to mine and then they said we’re transferring her out, so I don’t really know her.
Dispatcher: Okay while you’re looking at that, does she have any fever?
Employee: They said increased temps, yes. They started her on normal saline
Dispatcher: Does she have a cough?
Employee: They got two chest x-rays…
Dispatcher: Does she have any cough…
Employee: Reported to me yes…. She’s 89.
Dispatcher: Has she uh been traveling or anything like that that you’re aware of?
Employee: No… long term healthcare resident.
Dispatcher: Any contact with someone who has that you’re aware of?
Employee: No
Do you know if she’s had any contact with anybody who has?
Employee: No.

The next day, March 26, another call for another patient.

Gallatin Center Employee: I’ve got a resident with chest pain, vomiting, shortness of breath….

Again, employees say patients were not exposed to the virus.

Dispatcher: Do you know if she’s been around anybody that’s traveled to the airport or on an airplane or been exposed to coronavirus?

Gallatin Center Employee: No ma’am.

That 911 call was at 10:30 a.m. in the morning. One hour later, the facility posted on Facebook confirming they had “positive cases of COVID-19” not specifying who, but the actual press release document was dated the day before, March 25th.

The following evening, on March 27th, 24 patients were transported to the Sumner Regional Medical Center with symptoms.

Within days, the entire place was evacuated with 162 patients and staff eventually testing positive for the virus. More than two dozen now dead.

Attorney Clint Kelly with the Kelly Firm is representing several patients and staff at the facility, as well as another facility in Nasvhille under the CareRite owner.

Kelly is is filing a pre-suit against the facility claiming reckless endangerment of patients.

News 2 reached out the facility and owner CareRite for comment on the 911 calls, but they did not respond Friday.

The facility nor hospital will update News 2 on fatalities out of the facility. They say that information has to come from the TN State Health Dept. However, the health department numbers are delayed they claim due to reporting and death certificate processing.

According to the state, there were only 21 deaths out of the Gallatin center as of Friday. Both Kelly and Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt say that those numbers are not accurate.

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