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Florida Woman: Hospital mistakenly told me my husband was dead from COVID-19

Panama City Beach — A Florida woman’s nerves are shot after a Panama City Beach hospital allegedly mistakenly declared her husband dead from coronavirus.

Kristen Chapman was on an emotional roller coaster after she got a call last week from the hospital that her husband died from the virus, then seven hours later, she got another call saying that her husband was still alive.

“Seven hours later, I received another call saying they were running more tests and his heart is beating on its own and the doctor misspoke,” a rather frazzled Kristen Chapman said in an interview Monday. “That’s not something you misspeak about. I don’t know how in the world that could happen.”

Chapman’s 39-year-old husband has since been moved to a different hospital and the new hospital is making sure she stays informed.

Her husband, who was allegedly declared deceased in error on Wednesday at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay, is now fighting for his life at a veterans hospital in Gainesville.

Family and friends of 39-year-old Jake Chapman began protesting outside of the hospital Friday night upon learning Chapman had not died Wednesday, though put on life support. The group was primarily comprised of Chapman’s fellow members of Destiny Worship Center, where he is a worship leader.

Chapman’s wife of 16 years, Kristen Chapman, said she received the reverse prognosis over the phone on Wednesday evening, about seven hours after initially being told her husband and father of their five children was deceased.

ASH Bay declined to comment Wednesday, citing HIPAA restrictions. The company also declined to comment about COVID-19-related visitation rights of family members of declared deceased patients.

“Because of the context of your questions, the HIPAA law restrictions still apply. We cannot comment because of the federal HIPAA law that protects the privacy of information about a patient’s health or healthcare,” officials wrote.

According to Kristen, she was barred from seeing her husband due to coronavirus red tape, dead or alive, during his stay at the hospital. Since Wednesday, however, she was permitted to spend a half hour a day with him.

He was transferred to the VA hospital Sunday night at a request by Congressman Neal Dunn (R-Panama City). Chapman served as a medic in the Army.

“It’s such a heartbreaking story for a young family, young guy,” Dunn said in an interview Monday, noting that kind of “confusion and miscommunication” doesn’t happen a lot in the medical industry. “I was pleased to help the family get him to a center where they’re comfortable. He’s certainly going to get the help he needs.”

The new medical environment has given Chapman’s family time and confidence to focus on his recovery.