‘My heart is broken’ -- Downriver nursing home under investigation after COVID-19 deaths

Local 4 has heard from dozens of viewers concerned about outbreaks in nursing homes. Many are unable to get information from facilities. For one woman, she wasn’t even told her mother was sick and hours later, she was gone.
Local 4 has heard from dozens of viewers concerned about outbreaks in nursing homes. Many are unable to get information from facilities. For one woman, she wasn’t even told her mother was sick and hours later, she was gone.

RIVERVIEW, Mich. – Metro Detroit nursing homes have been badly impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Local 4 has heard from dozens of viewers concerned about outbreaks in nursing homes. Many are unable to get information from facilities. For one woman, she wasn’t even told her mother was sick and hours later, she was gone.

April 11 update -- Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 23,993; Death toll now at 1,392

“My heart is broken," said Carol Albin. "My mom was my best friend.”



Albin’s 81-year-old mother was a resident at Rivergate Terrace Nursing Home in Riverview. She spoke with her mother Wednesday and said her mom was fine. She died the next day.

A friend of Albin’s called her Thursday after her grandmother suddenly died at Rivergate after showing coronavirus-like symptoms. Albin immediately called to check on her mother and was told she had a fever. Albin wanted to get her mother to a hospital.

“I hung up. Five minutes later the nurse called saying she went in there to give her suppository for the fever and she was dead," Albin said.

Albin didn’t know coronavirus was in Rivergate Terrace Nursing Home and wasn’t told her mother had suddenly came down with symptoms.

A whistleblower on the inside said many staffers are sick, it’s one nurse to 25 patients and there are no time to call families.

READ: Michigan officials: 433 people have recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19)

The whistleblower claims residents aren’t being tested, not enough are being quarantined and not enough are being taken to the hospital.

Albin’s uncle, who helped raise her, is also a resident at Rivergate. She’s concerned with his safety too.

“If I lose him, I don’t know if I can handle this," Albin said. “I’m worried about him. I just don’t get this. I love the staff there, but be honest. Let these families know what’s going on. Don’t hide it."

Rivergate is now under a state investigation to see if management is following proper protocols.


About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.