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“I miss her immensely.”
Those are the words of Scott Schara, father of Grace Naomi (Emily) Schara, who died on Oct. 13, 2021, at age 19 at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Grace died just days after she tested positive for COVID-19 and went to an urgent care facility where she was treated for low oxygen levels.
In an interview with The Defender, Schara, a businessman turned advocate, recalled his daughter’s love of Elvis, writing, horseback riding and her sense of humor.
Grace’s family in July sued the hospital and some of its doctors and nurses alleging the hospital’s COVID-19 treatment protocols directly resulted in her death. A jury trial — the first in the U.S. challenging these protocols — has been scheduled for Nov. 4, 2024.
Since Grace’s death, Schara has become an advocate for victims of the protocols and their family members, launching a website and podcast, and producing a documentary detailing Grace’s and other victims’ stories.
In his interview with The Defender, Schara shared the circumstances leading to Grace’s hospitalization and subsequent death, documentation about the treatment she received and the upcoming lawsuit, and progress with his advocacy efforts.
‘Financial incentives’ to place patients on ventilators, administer remdesivir
Grace’s ordeal began on Oct. 1, 2021, when she tested positive for COVID-19 using a home testing kit. Five days later, her oxygen saturation had dropped to 88% as shown on the pulse oximeter her parents purchased in accordance with the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance’s (FLCCC) COVID-19 treatment protocol.
According to the protocol, hospitalization is recommended if oxygen saturation drops below 94%. Schara, however, now questions this recommendation.
“I’m not throwing FLCCC under the bus at all, but the fear propaganda influenced my critical thinking,” he said. “If you’re going to start measuring something, you’ve got to know what to measure against, not a number someone throws out.”
“What I’ve learned subsequently is when a person catches a cold or flu, their oxygen saturation naturally drops,” Schara said. He recounted being hospitalized with COVID-19 and low blood oxygen levels around the same time as his daughter, at a different hospital where he “just about died.”
Schara learned through his research that certain individuals have a genetic predisposition to produce low oxygen saturation, reasoning Grace likely inherited this trait from him. “It was a really foolish move on our part to even buy that [pulse oximeter] tool,” he said.
When Grace was transferred from the urgent care facility to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, the emergency room physician told him Grace would be placed “on oxygen and steroids for three or four days and she’ll be home.”
This wasn’t the course of treatment Grace received, however.
“If they would’ve only done that, Grace would be alive today,” Schara said. “But they didn’t do what they said. They just started that way.”
Schara said he was by Grace’s side at the hospital from Oct. 6-10, 2021, when he was “escorted out by an armed guard.” Following this, COVID-19 hospital protocols were implemented, which he alleges were driven by financial interests.
According to Schara, Grace was administered Precedex, a sedative produced by Pfizer “that should never be used with COVID.” However, “they use it because their goal with COVID is dollars and the main dollars are for getting somebody on a ventilator — and they have to be sedated to be put on a ventilator,” he said.
“They asked my wife and I five different times for a pre-authorization to put Grace on a ventilator,” Schara said. “We never approved it, nor should anybody approve a ventilator when somebody has a COVID diagnosis. A ventilator has a 90% kill rate with COVID, so why do it? And it’s simply because of the financial incentives.”
Schara is referring to financial bonuses available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act, for applying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 hospital protocol, which includes the administration of remdesivir and the use of ventilators.
Grace’s room was “classified as an ICU room” — a classification which brings hospitals more money under CDC protocols, he said — “even though Grace never changed rooms, nor did the care change.”
This was not the only reason why this change was made, Schara said. “The other thing that happens when somebody is on a sedation med is, the patient gets classified as ‘against medical advice’ if you try to remove them. I found that out, obviously, after the fact.”
‘Instead of taking care of Grace, they sedated her’
In the time between Schara’s removal from the hospital and his daughter’s death, he said Grace was left “without advocacy” and “instead of taking care of Grace, they sedated her. They increased the dose of Precedex six times during those 47 hours,” even after “Grace became oversedated from the Precedex,” the lawsuit states.
“Grace was never agitated,” Schara said. “She wasn’t an anxious person. There was absolutely no reason to use that drug whatsoever. The package insert for Precedex says not to use it for more than 24 hours. If you do so, it says right in the package insert, it causes acute respiratory failure.”
According to the lawsuit:
“If Grace was agitated at this time to warrant sedation, it was because one or more of the Professional Defendants did not properly account for Grace’s Down syndrome which makes using a breathing apparatus, such as a nasal cannula, a Vapotherm, and some breathing masks, difficult to wear.”
Schara said that “In that light, [the hospital] told the truth relative to the first cause of death on Grace’s death certificate, which they listed as ‘acute respiratory failure with hypoxemia,’ which means ‘low oxygen.’”
On the day of Grace’s death doctors requested, for the fifth time, pre-authorization for a ventilator, which was again refused by her family, Schara said. Following this, the doctor told them, “Grace had such a good day yesterday,” although her family subsequently discovered she “was already sedated four days at this point.”
The doctor advised them to work on Grace’s nutrition. “Still trusting the white coat,” Schara said, they approved a feeding tube for Grace.
Unbeknownst to them, however, the doctor entered a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order for Grace, which Schara described as “illegal.”
The doctor then “proceeded to order lorazepam [an anxiety and seizure medication] and morphine in a 29-minute window,” according to Schara.
“Grace was getting the maximum allowable dose of Precedex, two doses of lorazepam, and morphine, which nobody could have survived. That’s what you give hospice patients in their last half hour of life,” he said.
After being coded ‘do not resuscitate’ without consent, Grace left to die
According to the lawsuit, “At no time did Scott or Cindy [Grace’s mother], as Grace’s medical power of attorney, consent to or discuss with Dr. [Gavin] Shokar, or any other physician, a Do Not Resuscitate order,” or palliative care or comfort care.
The complaint states:
“At 10:56, simultaneous with the end of the call with Scott and Cindy, Dr. Shokar entered a blanket Do Not Resuscitate (‘DNR’) order on Grace’s chart.
“Plaintiff never consented to the entry of a DNR order, either orally or in writing; neither did Grace or any other member of Grace’s family.
“Dr. Shokar violated Ascension Health policy and/or procedure when he entered the DNR without proper consent or documentation.”
Grace also was administered several doses of lorazepam, even though “There was no valid order for [the] third administration” of this medication. Likewise, “no one consented” to the administration of morphine.
“Precedex has a well-known synergistic effect with other sedatives — particularly morphine,” the lawsuit also alleges.
Schara described the morphine package insert warning to not combine it with the other two medications Grace was receiving, because “if you do, you have to monitor the patient and have the reversal drug right there,” he said, adding “This did not happen.”
The lawsuit also states that “Grace was put in restraints and made [to] defecate in the bed, without permission and without attempting alternatives such as assisting her to the bathroom.” This took place just before Grace’s parents were told Grace “was doing well.”
Less than an hour before her death, Grace’s temperature began to drop. But despite requests made by her sister, Jessica, who had managed to secure visitation access, “The nursing staff refused to assist,” according to the lawsuit. Shortly thereafter, “Grace’s heart rate crashed, and respirations slowed due to the sedative drugs.”
This set the stage for Grace’s final moments of life. According to the lawsuit:
“At approximately 19:20, Jessica initiated a FaceTime call inside Grace’s room with Scott and Cindy. The entire family begged the medical staff to save Grace. The staff responded from the hallway that Grace was coded Do Not Resuscitate.
“Scott and Cindy screamed, ‘She’s not DNR, save our daughter,’ and demanded they resuscitate her. The family had no knowledge before this moment that Dr. Shokar had put a DNR on Grace’s chart.”
“We had no idea any of this was going on,” Schara said, referring to the DNR and the doses of medication Grace received prior to her death. “They chose to do this.”
Schara added that while his daughter was dying, there were about 30 nurses present who “would not come in” but stood outside the room “with an armed guard at the door.”
Schara told The Defender he believes Grace was targeted due to her unvaccinated status, her Down syndrome and other characteristics. He said:
“The COVID expert on the floor wrote in his report … ‘I think the patient probably would not be here if she had been fully vaccinated.’ He mentioned twice that Grace wasn’t vaccinated, four times that she had Down syndrome, twice that we’re Christian, and that we’re following the Frontline Doctors’ ‘misinformation campaign.’
“In the 22 doctors’ reports that were written during the seven days Grace was in the hospital, they referenced 36 times that Grace had Down syndrome.”
Research Schara conducted after Grace’s death turned up two documents he describes as “smoking gun” evidence that his daughter received a downgraded quality of care due to having Down syndrome.
One document is The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, commonly known as the Obamacare law. Section 1553 of the law states that doctors and medical facilities receiving federal funding will not be “discriminated” against for administering treatment “furnished for the purpose of causing, or for the purpose of assisting in causing, the death of any individual.”
Another document, published July 2011 by the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin, implies that because individuals with Down syndrome are a burden on their families, family members should not be counted on to make appropriate healthcare decisions, stating:
“The lifelong toll on families is high. Part of a robust plan of care includes acknowledgment of this toll by healthcare providers. …
“Whenever possible, decision makers for people with DS should be encouraged to use substituted judgment to make key palliative care decisions.”
Schara said these documents push the perspective that Down syndrome patients are nothing but a burden to their families, and that “physicians should come in on a white horse and ‘save’ the families from this burden.”
He described this as “absolutely sickening.”
‘It’s about a $300,000 payday’
Highlighting an example of the substandard care he believes Grace received, Schara recounted how, before he was expelled from his daughter’s room, Grace was denied food after indicating she was hungry.
A nurse said Grace could not be fed because her oxygen level was 85% and she needed to stay hooked up to the BiPAP machine with a mask covering her mouth.
“I just accepted that,” Schara said, “but then, I started processing it and thought, ‘That’s impossible.’ She should be in the high 90s with the BiPAP mask on.” A subsequent reading from his oximeter showed that Grace’s oxygen level was 95% — not 85%.
When Schara called the nurse back in to ask her if his meter was accurate, she said it was, explaining that the hospital machine’s reading was off because “the leads get sweaty.”
Asking why the hospital would not account for this discrepancy, Schara said the nurse “shook her finger at me and said, ‘You should just be thankful you caught this.’”
“In hindsight, I see that they have a vested interest in underreporting oxygen saturation,” Schara said. “If they’re underreporting oxygen, they’re justifying a ventilator, which is like hitting triple sevens on a slot machine for that hospital. It’s about a $300,000 payday.”
“I started digging into the finances regarding COVID, and I found out that the hospital receives a $13,000 bonus for putting COVID-19 on the death certificate.
“That’s not very much money, but in the context of the fifth request for a ventilator, and the fact that the hospital’s COVID wing had no beds available, and the emergency room was full — you connect the dots. Because if we would’ve approved a ventilator on the morning of Oct. 13, Grace would not have died that day. She would’ve died three weeks later, because that’s the maximum revenue that you can get when you put somebody on a ventilator.”
Jury trial scheduled for November 2024
Schara says that they’ve gone through all the records “with a fine-tooth comb” to figure out what actually happened. “You look at the phone records, the detailed medical records … you can only conclude that the money was behind it.”
The Scharas requested Grace’s records from the hospital after her death and received around 300 pages without a hitch. However, a medical malpractice nurse reviewing the records said approximately 1,000 pages were missing, explaining this was “standard practice.”
Through the lawsuit the Scharas subsequently filed, they received 948 additional pages of documents. Nonetheless, attorneys have advised Schara that “there are a lot more records” that will be received through a subpoena.
The lawsuit, Scott Schara v. Ascension Health et al., was filed on April 11 in Wisconsin’s Circuit Court for Outagamie County, claiming wrongful death and medical malpractice. According to Schara, a three-week jury trial in the case is scheduled to begin Nov. 4, 2024. An amended summons and complaint was filed on July 28.
The amended lawsuit names 14 defendants, including Ascension Health, five medical doctors and four John Doe medical providers, two registered nurses, and the Wisconsin Injured Patients and Family Compensation Fund.
Motions to dismiss the wrongful death charges and the plaintiff’s request for declaratory judgment were filed by the defendants and were heard on July 14. The court rejected these motions in front of a courtroom packed with over 100 people supporting the Scharas.
“We’re making this trial about more than medical malpractice,” Schara said. “Medical malpractice cases are a dime a dozen. We’re making this about the intent, and that is going to clearly generate a lot of motions. … They don’t want this to travel forward.”
Schara said the legal system poses further obstacles, especially for individuals with limited financial means. Citing the long wait before the jury trial, he said, “Justice should not take a long time. That’s another thing that [the legal system] is set up for: they want to bring you to bankruptcy with these lawsuits.”
“Why wait until November of 2024 to have a jury trial?” Schara continued. “We’re thankful we have it, but it’s ridiculous that it should take that long.”
Schara said that limits on medical malpractice settlements in states such as Wisconsin ($750,000) — plus the expense of pursuing such legal cases given defendants’ deep pockets — have led medical malpractice attorneys to tell him that even “slam dunk cases” like his “only have a 1-in-10 chance of winning.”
According to Schara, the high costs often mean families must fundraise to pay for legal expenses. Fortunately, they have been able to finance their legal challenge using money originally set aside for Grace.
Advocacy efforts began when ‘I realized Grace was murdered’
In addition to their lawsuit, Grace’s family turned to public advocacy. Schara said these efforts began when “I realized Grace was murdered.”
Grace’s death spurred the Scharas to found Our Amazing Grace’s Light Shines On, a nonprofit aimed at “helping other families be able to do things like we’re doing with Grace.”
According to Schara, who devotes 70 to 90 hours per week as the organization’s president, the website hosts 115 stories of hospital protocol victims, while more families are contacting him “all the time now because of what we’re doing.”
Schara has also launched a podcast, “Deprogramming with Grace’s Dad.” The name was inspired by Schara realizing “how programmed I was. … I’m just a dad waking up in real time and sharing what’s going on.”
Schara also worked with a producer to develop a documentary titled “Breaking the Oath,” in a reference to the physician’s Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm” and to follow medical ethics. Originally intended to be a half-hour documentary about Grace’s life, it grew to over 100 minutes long, presenting other stories of “U.S. hospital murders in the name of COVID-19.”
Referring to Grace, Schara said “They didn’t use a gun. The weapon they used was a syringe. But they’re still killing people,” adding that, compared to the COVID-19 hospital protocol funding incentives, the “banality of evil” in which such practices are normalized “is even bigger. … It’s a lot bigger than what people think.”
Schara shared these final thoughts with The Defender:
“I believe that we all have a responsibility to do our part. … I would like everybody that has had something happen to them in this light to do their part.
“When the cabal tries to do things, fear is always the underlying thread. No matter what they’re going to throw at us, we know whatever is coming next is going to have that thread of fear.
“When we sense that fear, we’ve got to go opposite. We’ve got to go to God, not be led by the fear.”
Watch this interview with Scott Schara: