With the number of cases of COVID rising in Montana, hospitals and medical facilities are being inundated with patients looking for help. But for one Great Falls woman with underlying health conditions, that help wasn’t as easily accessible as she would have thought… that is, until she said “Help me Taylor.”

 “I woke up on the 25th with a cough and stuffy nose… Monday morning I got up and drove through to get a test, and on Wednesday they called and told me I was positive.”

This caller wished to remain anonymous, so for clarity, we’ll call her Jane.

Within days of her positive COVID diagnosis, Jane started having trouble breathing. It got so bad, she decided to call her doctor at Great Falls Clinic for help.

“She just told me do some vitamins and if I had any problems breathing to go to immediate care because that’s where they’re sending everyone with COVID.”

So, Jane called immediate care and spoke to a nurse.

“She told me to call my doctor and ask my doctor for a prescription for a cough syrup and inhaler.”

This back and forth, between her doctor and immediate care, went on for days. Until finally Jane couldn’t take it anymore, and was forced to drive herself to the emergency room at Benefis hospital.

“The doctor said it would have been close if I hadn’t come in that night.”

It was in the hospital room that Jane started thinking more and more about her experience, and getting more frustrated.

So, she posted her story online, and her daughter reached out to me. Jane tells me she wants to raise awareness for others like her of where you should be going if you have a positive diagnosis and are experiencing complications. So I immediately called Great Falls Clinic to get a straight answer.

“We have policies in place that if a patient is showing signs or symptoms they need to go to our immediate care. So I can’t comment on anything else that the patient is saying,” says spokesperson Samantha Shinaberger.

But I did talk to Jane again after speaking with Great Falls Clinic, and she says they reached out to her directly… saying they weren’t happy about how she was treated, and would be reviewing the policies with those involved.

“And I only put the story out there because I don’t want anyone else to go through that because it was very scary… I realize now how important it is to live day by day.”

Jane tells me she’s feeling much better now, though she is still on oxygen, and she’s thankful for the doctors and nurses at Benefis who helped her.

If you’re experiencing complications due to COVID or have questions, call the Great Falls Clinic hotline at 406-454-7275.

And if you have a problem that needs a solution, contact Taylor by clicking here.

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