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Nursing home patient reportedly asked Alexa for help before dying of coronavirus

Nursing home COVID-19 patient asked ‘Alexa’ for help before death
WATCH: In the days leading up to LouAnn Dagen’s death from COVID-19, the Metron of Cedar Springs nursing home patient repeatedly asked her Amazon Echo Show for help with her pain.
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A Michigan woman reportedly looked to her Amazon Alexa for help just days before dying of the novel coronavirus.

On Saturday, 66-year-old LouAnn Dagen died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, as well as diabetes and hypertension.

She was one of 31 residents at the Metron nursing home in Cedar Springs, Mich., who contracted the virus, according to NBC affiliate WOOD-TV.

Her sister, Penny Dagen, made the heartbreaking discovery in the days following her death.

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According to Penny, LouAnn’s Amazon Echo Show had 40 recordings saved of the woman asking for pain-relief assistance in the four days leading up to her death.

“I am in pain,” one recording says, according to WOOD-TV. “I have to find a way to relieve it. Can you help me with pain?”

“Alexa, help me,” she reportedly pleads in another recording. “Oh, Alexa, I’m going to hurt.”

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A subsequent recording reportedly features LouAnn asking Alexa to help her contact the police. Alexa responds by giving her directions to the nearest police station.

Penny knew her sister was in pain but couldn’t do anything for her, she told WOOD-TV.

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“I just kept telling her there wasn’t anything I could do,” she said. “I’m sorry I couldn’t help you more. I’d take your pain away, but she’s up in heaven now, so she’s pain-free.”

“She’s walking, and she’s with my mom and dad.”

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Penny said she received a call from hospital staff on Saturday.

“The hospital called me right away and said that they put her on a respirator… They asked me about giving her CPR if her heart stopped and I said, ‘No, she didn’t want that,'” Penny told WOOD-TV. “And then her heart stopped and that was it. A half-hour after they called.”

LouAnn’s virtual assistant was the primary way she was in contact with her sister, the home’s director of operations, Paul Pruitt, told The New York Post.

“She could call her sister through the device, and they communicated often,” he said. “It was a very positive part of her life, which we supported fully.”

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“Due to patient privacy regulations, we cannot share information about an individual resident’s physical or mental health while they are in our care. However, we can share that LouAnn was getting excellent care and that our team was following both her advanced directives and clinical practice guidelines to manage her pain and symptoms,” he continued.

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He added that her symptoms progressed rapidly, and she was immediately sent to the hospital, where she later died.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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