Undocumented And Uninsured: The Cultural Implications Among Latinos At Hospitals During COVID-19

This article is the second in a series that explores how the Latino, Spanish-speaking and undocumented communities have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina a through the story of the Chagoyán family in Midland.

Laura Brache
September 3, 2020

Ana Chagoyán lost her 40-year-old brother Juan from what a Charlotte hospital says was COVID-19 pneumonia. Before Juan’s death on July 20, Ana said, her 57-year-old mother was in critical condition with COVID-19.

The nephew of Juan Chagoyan poses next to a photograph of his uncle, who died July 20 from coronavirus complications. LAURA BRACHE / WFAE

The nephew of Juan Chagoyan poses next to a photograph of his uncle, who died July 20 from coronavirus complications.
LAURA BRACHE / WFAE

“We are desperate because, well, with my brother’s death, my sick mother, with small children, with bills that we have to pay, it is not easy,” she said. “It’s just not easy.”

At least eight of 10 members of the Chagoyán family, all living under the same roof in the Cabarrus County town of Midland, either showed symptoms or tested positive for the coronavirus.

But Juan was hospitalized for a stroke, not COVID-19. The family believes that based on Juan’s listed cause of death, he was only properly treated for his COVID-19 diagnosis and not for the effects of the stroke.

Family members were under a strict quarantine order by Cabarrus County, so they weren’t able to see him or interact with hospital staff in-person when Juan was hospitalized. They say the hospital, Carolinas Medical Center, wasn’t straightforward about Juan’s actual condition. His records show that after the stroke, he was 85% disabled and would never be the same, but the family members say they never knew.

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This story was produced by the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of six media companies working together in an effort started by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.

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