A family is searching for answers after their loved one died from coronavirus at a Broward assisted living facility.
In the month since Richard Curren died at Atria Willow Wood in Fort Lauderdale, the family has hired an attorney and set up a hotline for families across the state who might have questions about their loved ones living in a facility.
”I am angry. I am very, very angry," said Curren's widow, Sheila Curren. "I want more information. I want more transparency. I want people to own up to their part in this and I want him back."
The family is also drawing attention to a letter sent by a lobbying group for a nursing home organization to Gov. Ron DeSantis asking the state to shield them from COVID-19 lawsuits — a type of immunity that could be afforded to first responders, doctors and nurses.
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The governor’s office said he’s looking into the request — he has said the outbreak at this facility was the fault of management for failing to screen visitors believed to have introduced the virus there.
"What doesn’t make sense is and what the public needs to know is cases of both negligence where facilities would’ve been aware of concerns and not protected the most vulnerable among us, which is the elderly population, they would fall under this same shield and they would be protected from any exposure to liability for the death or the spread of this pandemic," said attorney Lee Friedland.
Curren and his wife had been living at Atria Willow Wood when the virus spread at the facility in early March. Curren died and his wife survived.
The facility said it began screening visitors before DeSantis placed nursing homes on lockdown last month. Since then, at least seven others at the facility have died of the infection and more than a dozen others tested positive for it.
“I can’t imagine what it is for families right now who have people in there and they are not allowed to take them out, and how painful that must be for them to not know really how they are doing and if people are positive in the environment," said Curren's daughter, Tracey Weider.