Uri Libertad watched a video tribute Thursday she plans to play during her daughter’s funeral.
Jennifer Hawkins, 27, was a working mother and student without medical insurance who was taken off life-support at Loma Linda Medical Center earlier this month.
“They basically told us they weren’t going to do anything else for her,” Libertad said. “She had catastrophic brain damage, and she would always remain in a bed. I asked if she would ever wake up, and they said ‘no’.”
Libertad said her daughter’s death could have been prevented.
Her mother said Jennifer’s health problems started on June 23, when she went to Loma Linda complaining of extreme pain in her knee. Jennifer was given ibuprofen and sent home.
The next day, her mother said the pain got worse when it traveled to Jennifer’s hip. Her fiance carried her back in to the emergency room.
Libertad said her daughter told nurses she didn’t have a spleen, and she was worried she had the flu.
“She begged them to keep her in,” her mother said. “She felt there was something seriously wrong with her. She was studying to be a nurse; she knew her body. She broke out with a weird rash, her chest was hurting. She felt they should draw at least blood or X-ray her chest. They did neither. They told her to get out and apply for MediCal,” said Libertad.
Libertad said her daughter was told she had bursitis. Three days later, she was rushed back to the E.R. This time, she was taken to the Intensive Care Unit.
When a blood test was finally done, she said that’s when doctors realized Jennifer had H1N1, the swine flu. She also had a blood infection known as Sepsis that her body could not fight off.
Jennifer spent the next few days in a medically induced coma.
Libertad said on July 1, she was told doctors determined nothing could be done for her daughter, and she would be taken off life-support.
“All I asked was for two or three days. They told me ‘no, we need the bed for paying patients,'” said Libertad.
She said an administrator pulled her into another room, and while she pleaded for a delay, the machines keeping Jennifer alive, were turned off.
“I didn’t get to be in the room when my daughter passed away,” she said. “She flat lined. They took the last moments I had with her while they were tricking me.”
Jennifer died the day before her 28th birthday, something Libertad said is hard to explain to Jennifer’s 6 year-old son Isaac.
“He asked me ‘can you talk to my mommy and bring her back to me?’ I try to tell him she loved him and fought really, really hard.”
Libertad said her family is trying to raise the $9,000 needed for basic funeral services. After that, there will be time to fully grieve for her daughter.
Loma Linda Medical Center declined to comment on this story.