New York Governor Hochul broke her promise to my family and all who mourn a death in a COVID nursing home

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In October 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul met with grieving families who lost loved ones in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was with my husband Sean whose parents Mickey and Dee were among more than 15,000 seniors who died from the virus in their long-term care facilities.

I remember being optimistic that if she heard our stories and saw our grief firsthand, she would help us find answers. On the day of the meeting, she listened to us, offered her condolences and promised to be completely transparent and to help us shed light on what happened in the spring of 2020.


At the time, I believed her.

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2022/06/24: Governor Kathy Hochul speaks as hundreds of protesters gathered in Union Square to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade effectively banning the abortions in the United States.
((Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images))

But now, more than two years later, we still don’t know why Andrew Cuomo and the New York Heath Department ordered more than 9,000 COVID-19 positive patients to go home without alerting our families.

The administration never took responsibility for their reckless decisions and concealment of the death toll. There is now strong evidence that Cuomo deliberately hid those numbers to take advantage of a $5 million book he was writing on pandemic leadership.

Hochul listened sympathetically to my husband Sean as he painfully explained what it was like to lose both parents two weeks apart and not be able to see or comfort them.

My friends Peter and Daniel Arbeeny gave Hochul their father’s death certificate and asked why he wasn’t counted in the whitewash of nursing home deaths.

I commented after our meeting that Hochul’s actions would speak louder than words, and almost a year later we have seen nothing to indicate that she has been true to her promise to help grieving families. .

Peter, a lifelong Democrat, says he often wonders if Cuomo were a Republican, would we “still be here two years later waiting for the Democratic machine to open an investigation with subpoena power?”

Last week, there was a chorus of newspaper editorials from the New York Post, Daily News and Times Union asking why Hochul is dragging his heels on his promised “blue ribbon panel” to review all the “good , bad and ugly decisions that were made during the pandemic here in New York.

Congressman Lee Zeldin, the Republican running against Hochul for governor, says he thinks she believes “families will eventually go away and forget what happened to their loved ones, don’t asking for more justice and accountability”.

A woman holding a sign kisses another woman in front of a section of a memorial wall during a news conference in New York, Sunday, March 21, 2021. Families have come together to grieve but want an investigation and accountability from Governor Andrew Cuomo.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A woman holding a sign kisses another woman in front of a section of a memorial wall during a news conference in New York, Sunday, March 21, 2021. Families have come together to grieve but want an investigation and accountability from Governor Andrew Cuomo. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

But Zeldin promises it will be one of his priorities if he wins to “appoint a special prosecutor on my first day in office to investigate and prosecute all crimes relating to order and cover-up.”


New York State Senator Sue Serino, who was one of the first lawmakers to speak out about how dangerous it was to admit sick patients to nursing homes, says they have a duty to find out what went wrong during the pandemic to ensure deadly mistakes are never repeated. She said: “This administration has no more excuses to drag its feet on a long-awaited pandemic review. Now is the time to do the right thing and keep the promises made to thousands of families affected by the pandemics. state nursing home policies and get the answers and accountability that families deserve.”

My friend and fellow attorney, New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who helped facilitate the grieving families’ reunion with Hochul last year, still holds out hope that it will hold. speech, but argues that it cannot simply be a review by consultants she chooses to do the report. It must be an “independent commission with full subpoena and investigative powers. It can’t be like the 2020 DOH report that went back to Governor Cuomo from when he was in control. the facts and the story”.

In the meantime, families like mine are trying to figure out what we can do on our own. One thing we’re looking forward to is the passage of New York State Senate Bill S74A, known as the “Grieving Families Act.” This legislation would “help in future legal proceedings when a loved one’s life is wrongfully ended and take emotional loss into account when awarding damages.”


The bill would also increase the statute of limitations for filing a claim, giving families the option to spend their day in court. However, the bill, if passed, would also require action and signature by the same Governor Hochul.

I wish I could be more optimistic, but if history is our guide, the same woman who looked us in the eye and told us she cared about us and wanted to help, so far has nothing made to make us believe.


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