Austin man dies of COVID-19 at West Sub

Pronounced dead March 17, says medical examiner

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

An Austin man has died from complications related to COVID-19, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Timothy Loving, 59, of Austin, was pronounced dead at 6:07 a.m. on March 17, at West Suburban Medical Center, 3 Erie St. in Oak Park.  

In a report released March 21, the medical examiner ruled that Loving died from respiratory failure related to COVID-19. Loving also had underlying medical issues, such as diabetes and chronic substance abuse. 

Loving's death happened a few weeks after West Suburban's parent company, Pipeline Health, decided to trim the workforce at the Oak Park hospital and another hospital it owns — Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood — according to previous Wednesday Journal reporting. 

"The reductions were necessitated by the state of Illinois being months behind in paying Medicaid funding owed to hospitals," Natalie Bauer Luce, West Suburban's public relations representative, said in a statement last week. 

Luce said the state owes the hospitals $15 million in Medicaid funds. 

"The failure to pay hospitals serving large numbers of Medicaid patients has severely strained the hospitals, frankly, at exactly the time hospitals need the state's support and funding the most," she said, adding that the company doesn't believe the costs will affect the hospitals' ability to treat patients and is still looking to hire more nurses. 


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Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: March 23rd, 2020 7:33 PM

William Dwyer Jr No one would dare claim themselves to be a journalist. Only you and Wednesday Journal journalist have your stamp of approval. These are comment sections that give the public an ability to mention their opinion. Some people will like and some people will not like. I have never noticed you liking any unless it is from an official Wednesday Journal. As for this unfortunate story, I refer you to for how a story does not get mixed together and I am sure you are full of reasons why I am wrong so take me to task and give me the 20 lashes I deserve for not being a journalist and only a person who enjoys the stories and will make a comment

Waldhorn Fafner  

Posted: March 23rd, 2020 1:29 PM

Looks like we need the CFO for the hospital system not the PR person. What is the real reason for the purchase? Not the stuff submitted so the purchase could be made. Maybe the profits are so high that they need some tax right offs. Purchase those places in Chicago, bleed them, close them and have a nice deductions for our tax bill.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 23rd, 2020 11:59 AM

This is excellent reporting. The headline, the subhed and the lead and second Graf all inform us on Mr. Loving. Then Michael Romain, who is a better reporter than anyone posting here, including myself, adds context to story with several facts about funding for the hospital. As for including more about the victim here, all you supposed journalism experts need to Google the federal HIPPA Act, which broadly prohibits releasing personal information about medical patients.

William Kunz  

Posted: March 23rd, 2020 8:21 AM

For profit health care and the beurocratic inequities it engenders are coming home to roost.

Rob Ruffulo  

Posted: March 23rd, 2020 7:53 AM

I agree with Mr. Redmond's comments. Terrible reporting. RIP Mr. Loving.

Terry Redmond from Austin  

Posted: March 22nd, 2020 10:13 PM

Did everyone forget that a man lost his life To this virus? How can a story about a man's death turn into a story about how a hospital lost staff and Medicare bills mounting? Where is the story about Mr. Loving?

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: March 22nd, 2020 8:05 PM

Public relations spokesperson Natalie Bauer Luce in this story says they reduced staff because the State owes them money. Alright, that makes sense and that should be addressed with the Governor on creating a system that can pay a lot faster which would help hospitals. Now the story continues with Natalie Bauer Luce saying they are hiring staff. Now that does not make sense since they let go of staff because they were not being paid fast enough. Does anyone really understand what goes on in the World of business bouncing excuses off each other and the public accepts it or is there anyone with enough commons sense to think why there is not a way the State has not been able to set up a payment program after all of the years of providing medicaid. Most importantly in this story is the unfortunate passing of a man due to this Virus, that people still have not taken serious enough as they are still gathering outside their homes with neighbors and not calculating the wind factor of blowing the Virus, and also the grocery stories that people gather very closely

Christine Vernon  

Posted: March 22nd, 2020 7:28 PM

If Pipeline jumps ship on Oak Park which has so faithfully served the east side of Oak Park and the West Side of Austin, I think we will never forgive them. Except for Loretto Hospital at Central and the Expressway, there is no other hospital on the West Side to serve the community. Pipeline had to know the status of this hospital before they bought it. Will they go through destroying needed resources through Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, West Suburban and Weiss? Don't pretend that you didn't know what would happen. If that's the case, you must have the worst business people int he world working for you. Step up and help and be ready to help people now. You are still looking to hire nurses? You have an imminent public relations nightmare on your company's doorstep if you don't act rapidly to help people who need medical help during this crisis.

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