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In Dangerous Medical Mixup, Hospital Says Daughter Was Positive For COVID-19 When It Was Actually Her Mother With Same Name

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A woman took a COVID-19 test and was told it was positive – but she wasn't.

It was her mother.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Wednesday night, it is a medical mixup that is raising serious concerns about the process of pop-up coronavirus testing centers.

What the mother and daughter endured placed all of their loved ones at risk, and on Wednesday night, they were wondering if they might not be alone.
When the testing center at Roseland Community Hospital opened on April 3, the lines were long. In that crowd were Joslyn Ewing and her daughter, Joslyn Ewing-Brown.

Doctors had diagnosed the elder Ewing previously with pneumonia before COVID-19 testing was available.

"It was coming in bit by bit that pneumonia was one of the outcomes, so that's what made me say, 'Let's get tested,'" Ewing said.

So Ewing and her daughter headed to Roseland Community Hospital.

"We both have the same name," Ewing-Brownsiad. "I'm hyphen-Brown and my mom is just Ewing."

While getting their blood drawn, they both spotted red flags.

"They were literally writing your name by hand and then attaching to the valve," Ewing said.

"I said: 'Hey, my mom just got tested. We have the same name,' and she said: 'That's fine. We have your date of birth,'" Ewing-Brown said.

Four days later, the daughter received a call.

"They said: 'This is the hospital. We're calling to let you know you tested positive,'" Ewing-Brown said.

She was told to quarantine alone immediately.

"You can't be around your children. You can't cook for them. You can't do anything with them. You have to find someone to care for them," Ewing-Brown said.

So she sent her children to stay at her mother's house – a safe place, or so she thought.

"And then the next day, they told her she was negative," Ewing said.

"We need to do better," Ewing-Brown said. "I mean, we're all human. Accidents happen."

But the mixup placed Ewing-Brown's children in danger because they thought grandma was safe.

'Only to find out nope, it wasn't her," Ewing said. "It's me."

The family doesn't want to discredit the hardworking staff at Roseland. But after their mixup and hearing how the 2 Investigators exposed how rapid tests were taking weeks for results, questions are looming about what's going on.

"We're working on that as we speak to make sure that we get timely results," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

"Unacceptable. Do a better job," Ewing-Brown said. "This is serious."

On Wednesday night, another family was showing symptoms of the virus and was still waiting for her test results from Roseland more than two weeks later.

Terry communicated with the chief executive officer at Roseland and had many questions for him. While saying he will be as transparent as possible, none of Terry's questions had been answered as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

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