CHICAGO – A local family is speaking about disparities in the health care system for African Americans after a 50-year-old engineer died of COVID-19.
Family said Reggie Relf was the life of the party. The engineer had been looking after his elderly mother when in late March, he started feeling ill.
“He said, ‘Ami I got this cold I can’t beat’, said sister Ami Relf. “He thought it was a cold and he had been coughing.”
His sister eventually got him to go to an immediate care clinic in the western suburbs on March 29.
Family said he was sent home because he did not have a fever. Relf did say he would get hot at night.
Relf continued to isolate himself in his mother’s basement and would communicate by texting.
“He had stopped texting,” Ami Relf said. “My brother had brought him some food and left it at the step, and he did get that, but on April 6, my other brother Randy went into the basement and found him dead.”
Paramedics believe he died two days earlier. The family later got confirmation from the medical examiner that Relf died of COVID-19.
“They sent him home to die,” Relf said.
Relf said she is speaking out because she wants to highlight the health disparities within the African American community.
“With him having diabetes, that immediate care should have sent him to the emergency room, checked him in, something should have happened, he had all the symptoms,” Relf said.
Health care disparities in the African American community have been a decades-long issue that’s once again taking center stage because of the virus.
“Generations of systemic disadvantages in healthcare delivery and in healthcare access in communities of color and black communities in particular are now amplified in this crisis,” Gov. Pritzker said Saturday.
State officials said mortality rates in African Americans are five times higher than whites.
Relf said as of now, her family is not considering legal action, but she plans to use her 21 years experience being a teacher to education people about inequality.
“It’s the saying, if white people caught a cold, black people catch pneumonia. I saw that,” Relf said.
Suggest a Correction
Credit: Source link