DUXBURY (CBS) – More than two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, a Duxbury woman who does not want to show her face is still coughing and out of breath.
Walking across her lawn takes just about all the strength she has. “I was thinking I was going to be admitted on a ventilator,” she said. “It was bad. It was really, really bad.”READ MORE: Boston To Remove Tents At 'Mass And Cass' Homeless Encampments; Public Health Crisis Declared
The woman and her husband, who are both fully vaccinated, tested positive before Labor Day. They heard about monoclonal antibody treatment.
The couple knew if given within 10 days of testing positive, it could help people with COVID from getting seriously ill. So, they reached out to their doctors. She says her husband’s doctor responded right away and he was able to get the treatment at South Shore Hospital through an IV infusion at home and by the next day the treatment seemed to work, he was breathing better.
But the woman says even though she had serious risk factors, she was not able to get the treatment at South Shore Hospital or Mass. General. She says she was devastated.
The I-Team asked MGH and South Shore Hospital why she was turned away. Both say HIPAA prevents them from commenting on her case and admitted they are not able to accommodate everyone who asks for the antibody treatment. Being refused the treatment, the woman tells the I-Team, “I was scared. I was really scared. I knew I was going to end up in the hospital.”READ MORE: Plane Headed To ALCS Game In Boston Crashes In Texas, No Serious Injuries Reported
Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital says, “I think we need to work harder at making it feasible to deliver this antibody treatment to more people who need it.”
Dr. Kuritzkes, says a large part of the problem comes down to staffing and resources. “It’s been very challenging to be able to find the right setting where you can do infusion therapies for people who have COVID,” Kuritzkes said. “They have to be in isolation. They need to be monitored for an hour.”
But the I-Team found other states are meeting the demand for the life-saving treatment, in some cases, setting up tents for infusions. Dr. Kuritzkes says, “I think it’s fair to say that Massachusetts has been somewhat slow on the uptake.”
The woman says she ended up getting the treatment on the last day she was eligible, but wonders if she could have avoided becoming so sick. “It’s barbaric,” she said. “I mean, I was deathly, deathly sick.”MORE NEWS: Products In Your Medicine Cabinet May Soon Be Getting More Expensive
Just last week the federal government took over the distribution of doses to the states. The Department of Health says it is working to ensure Massachusetts gets the maximum amount. Boston’s major hospitals say they are working on the logistics and resources to make the infusions more available.