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Woman perplexed after father's death ruled from COVID-19, and she didn't know about it

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(Photo Courtesy: Kayla Smith)

SAN ANTONIO (WOAI/KABB) — A woman said she was told her father died of complications from strokes but when picking up his death certificate, it listed a different cause.

"If you can't get answers I have no peace. I can't grieve,” Kayla Smith said.

She said there are still lingering questions about how her father Jay Smith died.

Kayla said the loving father and grandfather was first taken to Mission Trails Baptist Hospital on July 6, 2020.

"It looked like as if my dad had a stroke. The right side of his face was all droopy,” Kayla said.

She said Jay tested negative for COVID-19 before being transferred to a non-COVID floor at Northeast Baptist Hospital on July 7, 2020.

"The MRI showed that he had multiple strokes in the brain and also he had a blood clot. Those multiple strokes caused so much damage in his brain that it caused damage in his body,” Kayla said.

Jay passed away on July 12, 2020, just days after Kayla and her pregnant sister visited him in-person as he was in his final days. Baptist currently has a no visitor policy with very few exceptions. Kayla said they were only allowed inside as their father was in his final moments.

"We were there from 8:00 in the morning to 3:50, then on Saturday we were there from 12:00 all the way until 9:30 at night. You know we had to leave but they let us be there with him,” Kayla said.

When Kayla went to pick up his ashes and death certificate she noticed something different about his cause of death.

"They put him as COVID. He didn't have COVID, he had a stroke,” Kayla said.

According to the death certificate Kayla provided us, it said Jay had COVID-19 for seven days leading up to his death.

She said the family was never told about a positive COVID-19 test.

"I want to know what he really had and if didn't have COVID, fix it,” Kayla said.

She said she has been unsuccessful in getting answers about her father’s death, which makes it hard to move forward.

"Since he passed I haven't been able to grieve about my dad. It's just been one thing after another,” Kayla said.

We did reach out to the Baptist Hospital system about this and they said death certificates are handled by a physician. We tried reaching out to the physician who signed off of the death certificate but were unable to get in touch with him.