SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida woman who relies on a home healthcare aide is taking legal action after, she said, a new policy banning visitors at her condo is preventing her aide from providing the care she desperately needs.
Eva Markman, a resident at Winston Towers in Sunny Isles Beach, is now alone with no access to her caregiver of four years.
The 73-year-old, who is disabled, spoke with 7News on Tuesday.
“I am very upset. My blood pressure has come up, and I feel very, very bad. My hands are very swollen,” she said.
Markman said she needs her aide to help her get dressed, cook, bathe and use the restroom. Her aide also helps her take her poodle outside.
But because of COVID-19, the condo association has the building on lockdown, and people who don’t live there are not allowed inside.
Markman’s son, Eugene Markman, said his mother is struggling.
“Rheumatoid arthritis, which affects her legs and her arms and her hands, mostly her bones,” he said. “Elena, the aide, helps her with daily activities.”
In response to the pandemic, the condo association sent out a letter that reads, “No guests, including immediate family members, are allowed in the building. Only registered residents are allowed. Health providers that are registered with the association office will be allowed access.”
Markman’s family said that when they explained that the visitor was a home healthcare aide, the condo board ignored them and still would not allow her inside.
“I tried to take care of this on my own. I sent emails to the board. I gave them all the proof, but they just would not respond,” said Eugene.
The family said neither Markman nor her aide have symptoms associated with COVID-19.
They have since filed a lawsuit. The document says, “Mr. Eugene Markman called the police in an attempt to require Winston Towers to allow the aide, Ms. Zheidelva, to see his mother, but the police advised that this was a civil matter, and they could not assist. Two members of the board of directors of Winston Towers 500 then yelled at Eva Markman and told her that all home care attendants are not allowed into the building.”
The Markmans hired attorneys Matthew Dietz and Sean Rowley, who filed the lawsuit after the condo association would not back down.
“Nothing much surprises me when it comes to condo associations. They went overboard in this circumstance,” said Dietz.
“[The condo association] never engaged with me at all as to how this could be resolved, just completely ignored the communication,” said Rowley.
A 7News crew attempted to speak with the property manager and left a business card, but the property manager never responded.
Meanwhile, Markman’s condition is getting worse.
“Due to the fact [the aide] was not able to come in here, my mom had a flare-up of her arthritis,” said her son. “She went for an MRI today because the doctor says that she is not doing too good.”
Dietz and Rowley said they do not understand the condo association’s actions, especially when taking into consideration the importance of keeping disabled people out of places like nursing homes if possible, where the virus can spread very quickly.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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