Patsy Lesiuk died at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital on March 11. She became infected with COVID-19 at Kelowna General Hospital in February. Photo: Courtesy the Lesiuk family

Patsy Lesiuk died at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital on March 11. She became infected with COVID-19 at Kelowna General Hospital in February. Photo: Courtesy the Lesiuk family

Trail family seeks answers after losing mother to COVID-19 infection

Patsy Lesiuk contracted the novel coronavirus at Kelowna General Hospital in February

Patsy Lesiuk’s family is asking the community to remember their kind, feisty and loving wife and mother for the way she lived.

Not for the way she died.

The stark reality, however, is that Patsy died of COVID-19 related pneumonia in the Trail hospital on March 11.

“COVID is here and it has taken a life, so we urge people to keep following protocols especially now while the vaccines try to outpace the variants,” began Whitney Lesiuk, Patsy’s daughter. “We are just wanting to inform the public by being transparent with our experience since Interior Health has been everything but.

“This is also a way for us to thank the amazing ICU team at KBRH (Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital) for all they did to try and save her,” Whitney shared.

“And we also would like to thank everyone who helped and is still helping us through this nightmare.”

Patsy’s last breath, taken that Thursday in an isolated room in intensive care, came only 16 days after she first tested positive for the virus.

Read: Patsy Lesiuk obituary

She was infected with COVID-19 on the fourth floor of Kelowna General Hospital, where she spent the third week of February for a specialist visit.

Upon her release from the Kelowna hospital on Saturday, Feb. 20, Patsy was driven back home to Warfield by her husband.

It wasn’t until two days later that a friend of Whitney’s sent her a news story about a COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital.

“My heart just dropped because that was the exact floor she was on,” Whitney recalled.

Because Patsy was going to have to go the Trail hospital for a chemotherapy appointment later that week, the family thought it necessary she get an immediate COVID-19 test.

They waited but never received a contact tracing phone call alerting them to the exposure.

“When I went to book my mom a test they were very reluctant,” Whitney said. “I had to fight, and explain why we were getting her tested even though she hadn’t come down with symptoms at that time. I myself had to lie and say I had a headache in order for them to test me,” she added.

“You’d think being a close contact of a COVID positive case would be enough.”

Patsy tested positive on Feb. 24.

She had no symptoms except for tiredness.

“Our family was extremely careful and we are devastated she picked up COVID-19 from a place that was supposed to be safe,” Whitney said.

Quarantined in the same house with Patsy were her husband and son, while Whitney quarantined in her own home.

“My dad and brother were having to keep any eye on her but were trying to protect themselves at the same time,” Whitney recalled. “I was checking in on them over the phone, especially my mom. We have a very supportive network of friends, family and co-workers who were dropping off things while we quarantined and we are so grateful for everyone’s love and support.”

All the good wishes and prayers weren’t enough when it came to Patsy’s battle with this novel coronavirus.

She was hospitalized the evening of March 1 after Whitney and her family started noticing red flags such as her mom not making sense when speaking.

Once in the ICU, family was told that if Patsy got to the point of needing to be intubated, that she would be too weak for the procedure and would likely never come off life support.

She went downhill extremely fast after developing severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Requiring more and more oxygen each day, and becoming less and less responsive, Patsy’s lungs started to fail on March 9.

“We opted not to put her on a ventilator, which was the hardest decision we had to make,” Whitney shared. “If she survived the procedure of intubation, which was very unlikely, it would have only kept her breathing for maybe a few more days.”

There were other serious complications brewing from both COVID-19 and from chemotherapy.

“She didn’t have a chance,” Whitney said.

“So we made the decision to say goodbye to her.”

The evening of March 10, a registered nurse phoned the family to tell them that Patsy had only hours left to live.

“We had to say goodbye through the window of the isolation unit using FaceTime since going in the room was risky for us and we would’ve had to wait a certain amount of time until the air was ‘cleaned,’” Whitney recalled. “She didn’t have that time, once they took her off support, it only took minutes.”

The nurse brought Patsy’s bed over to the window so the family could be next to her while the RN held her hand as she slipped away.

“We wanted to make sure she wasn’t alone in the end,” Whitney said. “It was the closest we could get and we are devastated but grateful that we at least got to be there in some way, realizing many families haven’t been so lucky.”

The family says the ICU did all they could; that Patsy was treated with such care and compassion and the team reached out to every specialist they could.

“We want to thank them for everything they did for her, while putting themselves at risk,” Whitney said.

Patsy was 65 years of age when she died.

She leaves behind her daughter Whitney and son Morgan, her high school sweetheart, husband Paul, much family and many friends.

Interior Health Patient Quality Care Office is investigating how Patsy failed to be on Kelowna’s radar.

Why wasn’t the family contacted?

And why was it so difficult for the family to get tested?

The family also wants to know why they had to advocate for Patsy every step of the way, noting the absence of information and support from Interior Health before Patsy’s family made the decision to hospitalize her.

“The whole experience was unbelievably heart wrenching and very traumatizing,” Whitney said.

“I don’t think we will ever get over it.”

Read more: B.C. stops indoor dining, fitness, religious service effective March 29

Read more: Spelling out how COVID numbers are reportedin Trail-Kootenay B.C.



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusKelownaKootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Mothers are God’s gift to us.” Photo: Amy Shamblen/Unsplash
Happy Mother’s Day

Message from Shirley Racette of the Fruitvale Christian Fellowship

Caden Tart and Luke Geisbrecht host Scratch the Scripture. Photo: Submitted
Two West Kootenay teens launch faith podcast

Scratch the Scripture aims to answer teen’s questions about God

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Most Read