Family ravaged by coronavirus begged for tests, hospital care, but was repeatedly denied


The man who raised Keith Gambrell, who loved him like a son and married his mother, died in a blue recliner of novel coronavirus in his Grosse Pointe Woods home.

Gary Fowler, 56, went to the emergency rooms of three metro Detroit hospitals in the weeks leading up to his death, begging for a coronavirus test, begging for help because he was having difficulty breathing, but was repeatedly turned away, Keith said.

“My dad passed at home, and no one tried to help him,” Keith, 33, of northwest Detroit said through tears. “He asked for help, and they sent him away. They turned him away.”

In the hours before his death, breathing was so difficult, Gary slept sitting up in the bedroom chair, while his wife, Cheryl Fowler, dozed in the bed by his side. When she woke, her husband of nearly 24 years was gone.

Before he took his last breaths, Gary had scrawled on a piece of paper: “Heart beat irregular … oxygen level low.”

“My little brother called me, screaming, ‘Daddy won’t wake up!’ ” Keith said.


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