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A woman in hospice care is now dead because the power to her New Jersey home was cut off because of an overdue bill.

Linda Daniels, 68, relied on an oxygen tank powered by electricity to breathe. She died on Thursday in her Newark home after suffering from congestive heart failure, reports ABC7 Chicago.

Her daughter, Desiree Washington, was with her.

“We put one ice pack here by her side and one on the other side. We were fanning her. It was so hot in here, she couldn’t breathe – it was unbearable,” she said.

Since Daniels’ primary oxygen, which plugs in, didn’t work, they used a smaller reserve, and when that was empty, they called EMS.

Paramedics did come with a portable unit — the entire time, the family called PSEG, the utility company, pleading to turn the power back on.

“One rep told me to stop calling, that there were too many tickets in the system,” said Desiree. “PSEG said ‘Oh, we’re on our way.’ Kept telling us that, but no one showed up.”

Desiree said, as required, her mom’s medical equipment was registered with the utility company. The power had been shut off because Daniels had fallen behind on payments. As of May 29, there was a balance of about $1,800, but another bill indicates $300 was sent in April, $450 another month, and July 3, two days before Daniels died, $500 was sent in.

PSEG said that it did notify the customer that their account was behind and service would be terminated.

PSEG said, in part:

“Because there was no response from the customer, the customer was shut off. They had not notified us of any medical circumstances in the home.”

Power was restored Friday, the day after Daniels died.

“She was the matriarch of this family – she was the glue that held everything together,” said Desiree.

Newark Police are now investigating, and PSEG said it is reviewing its records.

Desiree is considering legal action, but right now is focused on her mother’s funeral this Wednesday.

 

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7 thoughts on “N.J. Grandmother On Oxygen Dies After Power Is Cut Off

  1. Chris on said:

    Judge not lest ye be judged. No one will really ever know the real truth here. There are all kinds of questions to be asked and answered. Prayers to all involved.

  2. tedgravely on said:

    It will be interesting to see what the investigation uncovers. The daughter claims that the utility company was notified 2 years ago of her mother’s dependency on electricity because of her sleep apnea machine, and claims a nurse also sent a letter to the company. The company claims they have uncovered no indication of a medical condition on Ms. Daniels’s account. The company also claims the account was so severely in arrears; they made at least 26 attempts to notify the customer since January 2018, including two visits to the residence prior to the disconnection. There is a “disconnect” somewhere because workers would not have shut off power if there was a registered notification of medical urgency at that residence. The Family is upset trying to affix blame, but are they reflecting on their own lack of actions? When the daughter dropped by, why not call 9-1-1 soonest? Instead she went back and forth for hours with the utility company while her mom was in crisis? Linda Daniels said her mom gasped for air, “for hours.” Trying holding your breath for 2 minutes breathe for 5 seconds and repeat. Now tell me you could watch someone for hours who is struggling to breathe without immediately calling 9-1-1, knocking on a neighbor’s door, driving your own mom to the hospital. Daniels was frail and in hospice (normally 6 months life expectancy). There were a plethora of options for this Family prior to the crisis: file to carry your loved one as a dependent so you can manage their affairs; if she belonged to the church where was the pastor and those that check on the sick and shut in; and more importantly in this case drive, hail a taxi or get on the bus and personally go to the utility company and speak with a supervisor to ensure your needs are known. Utility companies service thousands of people on a grid. You have to personally advocate so they don’t just think of you as work order number xxxx. It’s sad that Ms Daniels last hours on this earth when she was surrounded by family was horrific. God bless her soul.

  3. Cold blooded-on the part of the electric company.
    If this woman REALLY owed $1800.00, her family could’ve made arrangements to make partial payments until the bill has been paid in full.

    Also, since this woman had a medical condition where she needed oxygen-she could’ve obtained a note from her doctor and taken it to the electric company-showing hardship and a
    medical necessity to keep her power on.

    No one should have to die because their electricity was turned off, when it was so desperately NEEDED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. LadyJae on said:

    I’m really not trying to judge but if the electric was cut off, why didn’t her kids take her to their home until they were able to pay the bill. At least send her to the ER or hospital not just wait there until all of her oxygen was depleted. I’m just wondering not judging.

  5. Mac Daddy on said:

    If her daughter was so concerned about her, why didn’t she pay her electric bill. $1800 unpaid? Ridiculous. Always someone else’s fault.

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