An Idaho Republican lawmaker says he's haunted by his mother's death from COVID-19 after she chose not to get vaccinated.
"Acknowledging that what happened was a product of Mom's choice kind of throws a strange wrinkle in the grieving process," state Rep. Greg Chaney told the Idaho Statesman. "Because she didn't exactly choose to die. But she chose, based on her age and physical condition, that she was highly likely to end up there if she got COVID. It's a hard thing to wrap your brain around.
"Mom had worked at the Old Mercy Medical Center as a chaplain," Chaney added. "She worked in a doctor's office. She wasn't anti-medicine. She wasn't gullible. She had two post-secondary degrees. She was an intelligent person. She was, however, a very skeptical person."
Chaney's mother, 74-year-old Judy Teter-Page, reportedly refused to go to a hospital for two days because she was afraid of Idaho's newly enacted health-care rationing standards, which came in response to an influx of COVID-19 patients. Teter-Page had heard rumors that Idaho hospitals weren't resuscitating anyone — even though that portion of the standards only becomes a factor if ventilators are scarce.
"I was correcting some misconceptions about things like refusal to treat, can they turn us away, or can they just let her lay there and die," Chaney said, adding that his mother eventually became "too delirious" to refuse to go to the hospital.
She died at West Valley hospital on Sept. 20 — 15 minutes after Chaney arrived to visit her.
Chaney is now encouraging people to get vaccinated, and he "blames misinformation for convincing his mother that the side effects of the vaccine would be a greater risk to her health than COVID-19," the Statesman reports.
He said it was "emotionally taxing" for hospital staff to lose another patient, and he knows that unvaccinated patients are taking resources away from others who are sick.
"But moreover, it's the family members of these folks who are suffering the consequences of their decisions," Chaney said. "Frankly, there's some anger. I think there are people in our political realm … who are essentially killing people with misinformation. But they'll get away with it, because you can never really tell at what point somebody was convinced of a lie. Was it the fifth time it was repeated? Was it the 50th time? Was it the 500th time? Nobody really knows. But this politically motivated misinformation campaign that's out there is deadly."