Doctor reveals coronavirus patient’s prognosis by voicemail in days before death

CHICAGO (WLS/CNN) - The family of a Chicago man who died from coronavirus is questioning his care after a voicemail accidentally left by his doctor in which she instructed staff not to perform chest compressions.

Fernando Diaz died days before his 52nd birthday after a lengthy battle with COVID-19. (Source: Norma Diaz Rodriguez/WLS/CNN)

Fernando Diaz died days before his 52nd birthday after a lengthy battle with COVID-19. His family says their pain is made worse by a voicemail from one of Diaz’s doctors at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, that has them questioning his care.

"This is my only brother. To not have him anymore is heartbreaking," said Diaz’s sister, Norma Diaz Rodriguez.

A doctor who was treating Diaz called his sister April 24, just 10 days before his death, and left a voicemail. But the caller did not hang up and began talking to colleagues, with the voicemail still recording.

"Look, he's going to die. It's just a matter of time. For the safety of everybody that's involved, we should not do chest compressions on him. Otherwise, he's on everything. It's just a matter of time that he will pass on," said the doctor in the voicemail.

When Rodriguez heard the message, she was livid.

"I understand unknowingly she did it, but she still did it. She still talked about my brother. This is my brother she's talking about," she said.

The family filed a complaint with the hospital's patient advocate. The doctor in question is not an Advocate employee but has privileges to practice at the hospital.

"It puts doubt in my head. Was he receiving all the care he could have gotten?" Rodriguez said.

While Diaz was alive, the family was able to see him on Zoom, though he could not speak, and they say they fought for his care. They hope their story will help other families.

"I'm hoping the nurses and doctors are doing their best and doing what they say they are doing for the patients because this is heartbreaking," Rodriguez said.

Advocate released a statement saying it is reviewing the matter.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with this family during this difficult time. As a healing ministry, our top priority is to provide high-quality, compassionate care to all our patients and their families. We regret when we fall short and learn from every situation,” read the statement in part.

Copyright 2020 WLS, Norma Diaz Rodriguez via CNN. All rights reserved.