Sisters want mother who died of COVID-19 at Brighton Rehab to be remembered as more than a number

BEAVER, Pa. — A casualty to COVID-19 at just 70 years old, Nancy Kemerer, who was living with dementia, is one of more than 5,000 people in Pennsylvania who have died from the virus.

"I just want people to know what a wonderful person she was. I want to put her picture out there because I don’t want her to be remembered as a number, but as a caring loving person that she was,” said Tracey Mineo, Kemerer’s daughter.

Kemerer lived at Brighton Rehab in Beaver County, where more than 75 patients have died.

She lived on the ground floor where her daughters had window access.They say they watched their mom decline quickly.

“We got to fight for our mom, but so many other families that haven’t seen their loved ones for months and don’t know what’s going on -- It’s horrible,” Mineo said.

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Helpless on the outside, feeling for the other patients and staff on the inside.

“There are good staff there, nurses and CNAS, but to put that amount of pressure in a pandemic, there’s not enough even on a healthy floor,” said Susan Fragomeni, Kemerer’s daughter.

The sisters described the things that went on inside, which is too many to list. They said they blame management for the little to no communication as their mom was dying.

“It was honestly like a movie, these men and women exhausted, doing the best they can, unfortunately the management dropped the ball, really dropped the ball and it's sad because so many innocent people lost their lives,” Fragomeni said.

Brighton Rehab, which has the most deaths of any facility in Pennsylvania, recently had the National Guard called in to help.

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And they did. Cases are down, but it’s too late for Kemerer. These two sisters lost a mom and a grandma with a sense of humor who was always pulling pranks. That’s who her daughters want everyone to see -- not the virus.

“My message is I want to put faces to the numbers. I encourage other family members so they are not just a number,” Mineo said.

Kemerer’s daughters are part of a class action lawsuit accusing the Pennsylvania Department of Health of stopping proper inspections of nursing homes in the state.