A suburban man on Monday expressed his anger and frustration following the death of his 89-year-old father who died after contracting the coronavirus at a nursing home in Glenview.
Peter Schallmoser said his father, Anton, had been a resident at Presence Maryhaven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Glenview since Jan. 2015.
Peter said approximately two weeks ago, his father began running a fever, but at the time, requests for coronavirus testing were denied. Peter told NBC 5 he begged for answers, got none and resorted to asking Glenivew police to perform a well-being check.
"It's unbelievable to have to call a police department on a nursing home to see if theres anybody there watching your family," he said. "But that’s what I had to do."
Police spoke to a social worker who went to check on Anton. At that point, Peter said his father's vitals "were so poor" that he had to be rushed to Glenbrook Hospital.
Just two weeks earlier, Anton's roommate died after contracting the coronavirus.
"They deceived us," Peter said, referring to the nursing home. "They did not tell us the truth about COVID-19. They did not take the care to move my father out of [the] contaminated room from his roommate which caused him to contract COVID-19."
Nursing home are required to report coronavirus cases to local and state governments. As of Monday, the facilities must also provide information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — as part of an effort to collect data at nursing homes nationwide during the pandemic.
"It’s really chilling that a federal agencies has to tell health care providers how to operate when they should be experts in their own right," Peter said.
Nearly 2,000 cases and almost 300 deaths have been reported at Illinois nursing homes, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Nine cases and four deaths have occurred at Maryhaven.
"It really is startling to think they put their reputation and revenue, their profit, in front of the lives of their residents," Peter stated.
Peter said if he would have know there was one coronavirus case at Maryhaven, he would have pulled his father from the facility.
"It would not have been easy, he has dementia," Peter said. "But our family would have pulled together until this blows over."
The Health Care Council of Illinois held a virtual press conference on Monday, saying that nursing homes have been asking the state for support all along and have themselves been frustrated by slow action.
NBC 5 reached out to Maryhaven multiple times for comment, but had not heard back as of Monday night.
Meanwhile, Peter said despite his grief, he hopes his message will help others.
"Families deserve the right to have honest, accurate and timely information about their loved ones," he stated.