A severely ill COVID-19 patient flown from Minnesota to Texas during a legal battle over whether his ventilator should be turned off died Saturday.
Scott Quiner, who was unvaccinated, was being kept alive by the machine at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, north of Minneapolis, after contracting COVID-19 in October. His family sued the hospital over a move to disconnect Quiner, and a judge issued a restraining order Jan. 13 blocking Mercy from turning off the machine.
Last weekend, the family flew Quiner to Texas, where he was being treated at a Houston hospital. He died Saturday morning.
The family's story drew national attention as the surge in COVID-19 patients strained hospitals across the country.
"We're absolutely devastated," the family's lawyer, Marjorie Holsten, said Saturday.
"On behalf of the Quiner family, I would like to thank the public for their outpouring of love and support during this difficult ordeal," she said. "We ask for privacy for Anne and the children as they grieve the loss of Scott, a wonderful husband and father."
Holsten said she does not know when Quiner lost consciousness, but that two days ago his daughter FaceTimed with him. "She was saying 'Dad I love you' and his eyes welled with tears," Holsten said. "His brain was there."
Quiner, 55, of Buffalo, Minn., was an operations manager at GW Transportation Services in Delano, Minn., according to his LinkedIn profile. He and Anne had been married 35 years, Holsten said, and they had two adult children and a teenager. She described him as a "strong Christian" and a family man.
Quiner fell ill after contracting COVID-19 in October. He was hospitalized in Waconia and was already on a ventilator when he was transferred to Mercy Hospital, Holsten said. Quiner had been in the hospital's ICU since Nov. 6 with critically low oxygen levels.
The family feels Quiner didn't receive adequate care at Mercy, Holsten said. She said that Anne told her a Texas doctor said Quiner was "the most undernourished patient he has ever seen."
"He lost 30 pounds while on the ventilator," Holsten said. "That should be proof enough he was not getting adequate nutrition."
She said it's not clear whether the family will pursue any further legal action.
A spokesperson for Allina Health, which operates Mercy Hospital, issued a statement saying Allina's "deepest condolences go out to family, friends and loved ones."
"His passing marks yet another very sad moment as collectively we continue to face the devastating effects of the pandemic," the statement said.
Staff writer Tim Harlow contributed to this report.