'Shame on you': Florida woman, 26, dies of COVID-19 after hospital didn't test her for coronavirus, family says

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -- A 26-year-old Florida woman died from COVID-19 after her family says she went to the hospital and was sent home to recover without being tested for coronavirus.

As her condition worsened, Desi-rae McIntosh was admitted to the hospital on July 9 and tested positive for COVID-19. But ABC affiliate WEAR-TV reports it was too late, and she died only four days later.

McIntosh's father said she worked at a Tom Thumb up until she was hospitalized. Now, candles and flowers sit outside the gas station in her memory.

"Desi was the most sweetest, honest, caring and loving person you could ever possibly want to meet," said her father, Thomas Frisch.

About two weeks ago, McIntosh started having a cough and shortness of breath. Frisch said she went to the hospital, was diagnosed with pneumonia and was sent home to recover.

However, Frisch said she was never tested for COVID-19 at the time.

"If I come to your hospital and I have pneumonia and you don't check me for COVID, shame on you," her father said.

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"She began coughing and so I could tell catching her breath was difficult," said Taylor Kennedy, one of Desi's regular customers.

Last week, Kennedy said she noticed Desi's condition getting worse and encouraged her to go back to the hospital.

"She didn't want to trouble anybody with what she thought was her problem," Kennedy said. "So all I said to her was that there's absolutely nothing that somebody could buy that would replace your life."

Frisch said last Thursday, Desi was admitted to the hospital and at that time she tested positive for COVID-19. Yet, it was too late.

Desi was moved to the ICU, put on a ventilator and passed away just four days later.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, Frisch wasn't able to be with his only child for the last moments of her life.

"I won't be able to see her smiling face no more," he said, breaking into tears. "I won't be able to hug her."

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Frisch said Desi had underlying conditions, including asthma and diabetes.

However, he believes that if doctors tested her for COVID-19 initially and she was treated immediately, she might still be alive.

Frisch said he didn't take the virus seriously until now. He wants others to not wait until it's too late.

"I was one of those 'Oh I don't need a mask, masks don't work, the social distancing thing is stupid,'" he said. "No, that is completely wrong."
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