POPE, Miss. — A grieving widow wants answers after she says her 68-year-old husband, who was being treated for COVID, ended up confused by hospital staff for another man before he passed away.
Twanda Taylor cries when she thinks about the last days of her late husband, Kenneth Wade Taylor. Because of COVID restrictions, she said she wasn’t allowed to visit him.
“Why did I miss out on getting to see him and talk to him?” she asked. “I just don’t understand how it got so mixed up.”
The Pope, Mississippi couple had been together 22 years, married the last two, when Kenneth got sick with COVID last August.
“He started feeling bad. He couldn’t get his breath,” Twanda Taylor said.
His condition got progressively worse, so he was flown from the medical center in Panola County to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
But Twanda said her husband called and told her something went wrong when he got to UMMC.
“He was crying. He said, ‘Babe I’m not gonna make it. They got me confused with someone else down here. There must be two of us, because they’re telling me I don’t know my birthday. And I don’t know my name. And when I tell them to call my family, they start giving me medicine and I don’t wake up. I can’t wake up. And then when I wake up, they’re there to give me more medicine.’”
Twanda said that started the nightmare of her husband trying to tell the hospital who he was.
According to Twanda, Kenneth told them his birthday was Oct. 9, 1953. But a nurse told him no, he had his dates mixed up, and it had something to do with COVID.
Kenneth died Sept. 8, and when his wife got the death certificate, it had his birth date listed as Oct. 19, 1953.
Her husband’s birthday was Oct. 9.
“I broke down and I said, ‘Baby I believe everything you told me now, that they had you mixed up,’” she said.
Twanda told the funeral home about the error. They wrote her a letter explaining it was a hospital error.
A few weeks later she was sent an altered death certificate.
“I can’t imagine the anxiety and pain he was enduring,” Twanda said.
Meanwhile, two hours away in Kosciosko, Mississippi, Rebecca Taylor and her husband Kenneth Taylor suddenly got a call from UMMC.
“They called us about a hospital bill,” Rebecca said. “We were trying to figure out what was going on. We told them that, you know, we’ve never been in the hospital. She said, ‘Well, aren’t you in the lobby?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m sitting at home.’ She says ‘Well, your husband’s in the hospital.’ I said, ‘No, he’s sitting right here beside me.’”
A few days later, Rebecca and Ken received a hospital bill.
“They call my phone, and I’m supposed to be the one in the hospital,” Ken Taylor said. “I mean, you know, obviously they know that they made a mistake if they call me. I answered my phone and I’m not in the hospital.”
Medicaid even came to their house to get Ken’s oxygen machine.
“The oxygen people come pull my oxygen,” he said. “They said, ‘You have to sign this.’ I said, ’What is it?’ He said, ‘It’s a piece of paper showing that you’re deceased.’”
Rebecca started an internet search. She found Kenneth Wade Taylor’s obituary and contacted Twanda.
“My phone dinged and I looked at it, and I like to lost it then,” Twanda said. “She said she had received all of my husband’s medical bills.”
The wives began comparing information and realized there had been a major mix-up.
“I still to this day have never received a bill for my husband,” Twanda said. “Never got a call to come visit him, but she did.”
Ken Taylor said the hospital had his phone number, address, Social Security number and date of birth on a death certificate that they gave to Twanda Taylor.
“I was told by the hospital employees in the medical records department that my husband and the other Kenneth Taylor’s medical records were combined,” Twanda said.
UMMC sent Twanda Taylor a letter offering their condolences, but saying her husband had no medical reaction to the medicine they gave him, and that he died from an infection.
“I can’t understand how they would get my record, in a place I have never been,” Ken Taylor said.
“And they won’t answer that question, either,” his wife said.
We reached out to UMMC but they said they cannot comment on patient cases.