A 66-year-old woman died at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest after having a tumor removed from her brain, but family members said doctors told them that's not what caused her death. They said it turns out she contracted coronavirus.
Liticia Fresse, 66, went to the hospital on March 3 with a brain tumor. Her family said doctors successfully operated on her, but during her recovery, the family said they were told she contracted COVID-19. She died March 25.
"She had emphysema, COPD and asthma so I knew - okay - complications. We just thought the tumor. That was it," said Josephine DeJesus, a family member.
Fresse was in the hospital for more than three weeks before she died, leading her family to believe she contracted to virus from someone at the hospital.
"They say it was in the ward. Upstairs on the seventh floor - because I asked the doctor that spoke to me because he asked if I had any questions," De Jesus said. "I said, 'yes, I'd like to know how she could have contracted the virus in the hospital?'"
Brian Downs, a spokesperson for LVHN, told 69 News multiple medical personnel at the hospital have tested positive for the virus, but he didn't confirm where they worked in the hospital or whether they worked with Fresse.
Downs also said visitors were allowed in the hospital until March 15, which was within the March 3-25 time frame the woman was in the hospital.
Downs said LVHN is taking every precaution to protect patients and staff, including checking each employee's temperature before and after a shift.
Downs said any staff member "possibly considered" to be exposed is being asked to stay home for 14 days.
"That's part of what takes a toll on the staff," he said. "It's not easy to make that work."