Parents upset at how doctors treated metro teen who died from COVID-19 complications

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — A local community is mourning the death of a high school football player who died from COVID-19 complications. The teen’s parents said when they took him to the hospital, doctors were frustrated with them because he wasn’t vaccinated.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes spoke to 17-year-old Tyler Fairley’s parents in Douglas County, who are still in shock about the young man’s death and how they said doctors treated him.

“That could’ve been a conversation for another time. But not during the time my son was in distress,” Tosha Nettles said.

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Nettles said watching her son suffer from COVID was unbearable but when she and her husband rushed him to Douglas Wellstar Medical Center twice, they said they could feel the doctors’ frustration.

“It was as if the doctor didn’t care because this was COVID and he didn’t prevent himself from having COVID because he wasn’t vaccinated,” Nettles said.

When Fairley became unresponsive with the doctor, his parents said things got worse.


“I believe the doctor became offended by that because his words were, ‘This is COVID, this is what we’ve been seeing for a year and a half. It’s just got to run its course,’” Nettles said. “I said, ‘Well, he’s sick, and I mean he’s not disrespectful, never been in trouble,’ and I said, ‘This is strange for me too. This is not my son, which is why we’re here.’’

Fairley was normally a bubbly football player, nicknamed “the gentle giant” by his coaches. So his parents knew this was serious. He was rushed to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Scottish Rite Hospital where doctors immediately said he had been having seizures that entire day. He died Sunday.

“I’m not a medical professional but I do wish I had gotten him vaccinated,” Nettles said. “Do I know that the vaccine would’ve helped what he was going through? I don’t know. Do I even know if that was COVID that caused that? I don’t know because at the time of death, it was due to no brain activity which was caused by seizures.”

Douglas Wellstar extended their condolences to the family and said they’re reviewing the care at their facility. They also said that sometimes things change when a patient is discharged.

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