Exclusive: Family blames Moorhead nursing home for mom's COVID-19 as she clings to life

Published: May. 5, 2020 at 6:43 PM CDT
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Most of the COVID-19 related deaths in Minnesota are coming from long-term care facilities. One family says their mother went into a Moorhead facility healthy, but is currently on a ventilator clinging to life.

In an exclusive interview, Felisha Rankin said her mom underwent hip replacement surgery several months ago and was then taken to Moorhead Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center.

Yet, Rankin said it was the biggest mistake they made.

“It's the only thing you can be, is hopeful. And, we're hoping that the day comes when we can take her home,” Rankin said. “I'm hoping that’s soon because I know my mom. My mom is a fighter.”

Her mother 65-year-old Karen Haroldson is battling COVID-19. A disease, they said, she got at the facility.

Rankin said she’s been fighting it for the last month and it has been getting worse.

“She went from eating, drinking, and talking to completely be on a ventilator within hours,” Rankin said.

Originally, she was transferred from the Moorhead facility to a hospital in Thief River Falls because there wasn’t enough space locally, according to Rankin.

Yet, as things went downhill, Haroldson was flown by helicopter to Sanford Hospital in Fargo.

Rankin said the family holds Moorhead Rehabilitation responsible for what’s happening with their mother.

“They had put another female in with her and my mother [caught] the coronavirus from the lady, which had already been tested and they were waiting for her test results to come back,” Rankin said.

Two weeks ago, we reported there were 21 cases and two deaths at the facility.

While the facility refuses to release updated numbers or speak on camera, it told us in a statement it is monitoring and screening residents. Moreover, it is limiting visitors.

Two years ago, Moorhead Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center had federal funds nearly pulled after several violations were found. It then corrected the issues.

For nearly two weeks, we’ve emailed and called the Minnesota Department of Health to find out if the agency has inspected the facility recently and found any violations.

After following up with the department Tuesday, we still didn’t obtain an answer.