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Florida family told loved one died from COVID-19 but he was still alive

Family now contacting Gov. Ron Desantis for help
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Posted at 2:19 PM, Aug 26, 2021

SPRING HILL, Fla. — It's a call that no one wants to get — news that your loved one has died from COVID-19. A family in Spring Hill, Florida, received that call but their loved one was still alive.

Like millions of Americans, Izzy Zena and his parents contracted COVID-19.

Izzy and his mom were able to pull through, but the virus forced his 70-year-old dad to be admitted to Oak Hill Hospital.

"He was talking to us, you know. He was good. He was my dad, you know," Izzy said.

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The family FaceTimed while he was in the hospital, a sign that he may be coming home soon.

"Aug. 16 at 10:28 p.m. my mom received a phone call from a doctor saying that my dad has passed away," Izzy said.

As the family began funeral preparations, they say they got another phone call the next day from a different doctor. Izzy says that doctor told him his dad was still alive.

"I was telling him that we were trying to get the death certificate and that we weren't able to get it and he was like um, what do you know about the situation so far? And I told him that I knew that my dad was deceased and he said I don't know where you got that information from but your dad is currently alive in the ICU," Izzy said.

He said he could hear the exasperation in the staff's voice.

"They seemed very overworked but that is information that you really need to verify and make sure it's correct," Izzy said.

While his dad was in the ICU, he was placed on a ventilator that did 100% of the work for him, according to Izzy.

Sadly, the family received another phone call days later. They were told a second time their loved one lost their battle with COVID-19 and that time, it was true.

Izzy says he has yet to receive any explanation from the hospital.

"Not angry, but just upset that it happened because again that is not something that you mess up," Izzy said.

As a result, he has contacted the local government and is taking his concerns to Gov. Ron Desantis.

"I think that not only the patients deserve proper care but the staff definitely need some type of relief if they're making mistakes this big," Izzy said.

He said he would like relief in the form of more funding and/or staffing brought to Spring Hill hospitals

He said the initial anger of the news turned to grief and now he's simply trying to stay strong for his mom.

WFTS contacted Oak Hill Hospital for comment and explanation as to what happened, however, they have yet to respond.

This story was originally published by Vanessa Araiza at WFTS.