JOLIET, Ill. – Four families are accusing Symphony of Joliet of negligence after 23 residents and an employee have died of COVID-19.
Brenda Brooks’ 66-year-old sister, Diane Brooks, died from COVID-19 on April 5. She was transported by ambulance from the nursing home to St. Joseph Medical Center.
Diane was unresponsive with a fever of 105.
“She was in the ICU unit…I couldn’t hold her hand so I just sang gospel songs to her,” Brenda Brooks said. “The nurses there were wonderful, they were crying, they were praying.”
At the hospital, she tested positive for COVID-19. Within 24 hours, Brooks was dead.
On March 25, Brenda said she was told her sister was fine but that an employee had the virus. Her next phone call was that her sister was heading to the hospital.
“You hear the nurse in the background, ‘no you talk to her, no you talk to her,'” Brooks said. “Nobody wants to take responsibility.”
The family of 84-year-old Army veteran Gerald Francis said the nusing home kept them in the dark too.
“We didn’t know anything that was going on with him until yesterday. And when we found out yesterday, all our hearts broke,” said daughter Sharon Remblake.
Remblake said her family didn’y know he had the virus until after he died.
“The last time I saw my husband alive was March 6,” said widow Mary Ann Francis. “Now today, I’m going to see him and he’s not alive.”
Brenda Brooks wants people to know that Gerald Francis and her sister are not just numbers; they have faces, personalities and families who love them very much.
“I just want people to know, take care of your loved ones,” Brooks said. “This is serious.”
Brooks wants people to know her sister was full of life, loved music and laughter.
Joliet city leaders are stepping in and say it’s time for health officials to get involved and find out what happened inside this nursing home.
Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk says he’s confident the state will fully investigate the situation.
Symphony would not talk about the specific cases due to privacy laws, but say family members are notified immediately if their loved one is symptomatic.