Local EMT worker denied workers’ compensation after testing positive for coronavirus

Cleveland, Oklahoma — A local family is raising money to help with their mother’s medical bills.

They say Ibeth Carpenter is an EMT in Cleveland, Oklahoma and has been working for Mercy Regional EMS. The family says she was at work when she was exposed and contracted the coronavirus while transporting a patient at the end of February.

On the Gofundme page the family says weeks went by before Ibeth could get tested. When she was able to get tested, she tested positive for coronavirus, which led to many other complications.

“Due to a variety of reasons (such as lack of knowledge and resources) Ibeth, who showed many symptoms of the virus, was not given the testing needed to diagnose the coronavirus, which led to the serious decline of her overall health. As a result, Ibeth, developed pneumonia and bronchitis which led to a severe case of ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) before getting tested for COVID-19. On March 15, more than two weeks after contracting the virus, Ibeth was finally tested. She tested positive – things took a turn for the worst. Without being too explicit, my mother has gone through: countless tests, a PICC line, intubation, multiple bronchoscopies, a rotating bed to loosen liquid in her lungs, put into an induced coma for a week, and then put on a new life-saving machine, ECMO, which helps failing lungs. My mother’s chances of survival were very slim.”

According to the family Ibeth recently tested negative for the virus, but she is still having physical problems and has to go to physical therapy to regain motor skills.

The family says they are struggling because they can’t visit her in the hospital. Reportedly, she was considered one of the MOST SEVERE nonfatal cases of COVID-19. Ibeth was the first coronavirus victim to survive coming off ECMO in the United States and only the fourth person worldwide. She has been hospitalized since March 9th, 2020.

Her husband tells FOX23 they do have insurance but the workers’ compensation insurance company denied the claim so the family is facing a large financial burden. The Chief of Operations for Mercy Regional EMS where she works says the insurance company denied the workers comp claim because there’s no proof she got it at work since no patients were being tested at the time. The company is going to bat for her and trying to get state lawmakers and the governor involved to get the company to reconsider.

They are asking for prayers and donations.

They are hoping to raise $300,000 in the coming months as bills accumulate.

“We appreciate anything you are able to give at this time. My mom has given so much to the community and cared for many lives and I would love to see the community give back to her.”

You can donate through Gofundme here.

If you would like to contact or find other ways to give, please contact Alexandra Carpenter at: alecarp@okstate.edu.