A New Jersey woman suffering from congestive heart failure reportedly died seven hours after a utility company shut off her electricity because she was late on her bill.
According to NJ.com, Linda Daniels, 68, was undergoing hospice care at her Newark home. Her family said Daniels depended on her oxygen machine to breathe—and it was at 10 a.m. Thursday that PSE&G cut off the power.
By 4:23 p.m., she was dead from heart failure, they said.
“She was trying to catch her breath—she was gasping for air,” granddaughter Mia told the news outlet.
“She suffered and she passed right in front of us. She was gasping until the time she died.”
News12 reported that the home also became unbearably hot without air conditioning. The family reportedly called an ambulance after Daniels’ backup tank ran out of oxygen.
Before that, the woman’s daughter, Desiree, said they called PSE&G multiple times and begged them to restore the power. Amid the ordeal, she reportedly fanned her mother down and applied ice packs to her sides.
“They started getting nasty after awhile, telling us they had too many tickets out on this,” Mia said, adding that an operator told her to stop calling.
While PSE&G told NJ.com that Daniels’ power was shut off “due to lack of payment over several months,” the woman’s son presented News12 with a bank statement showing that they paid a $500 bill on June 3, two days before the power was cut off.
Records obtained by WABC indicated that, as of May 29, there was a balance of about $1800. In addition to the $500, subsequent bills reflected that $300 was sent in in April and $450 was paid another month.
The power was restored the morning after Daniels’ death.
“We are horrified. We are angry,” Desiree said. “My mother was a taxpayer for 46 years. It’s so sad she had to go like that. And I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
PSE&G spokesperson Jim Namiotka claimed the family hadn’t informed them of the 68-year-old’s medical issues until after they discontinued services. However, Desiree claimed relatives and hospice workers previously provided the company with a written statement detailing her health conditions.
Namiotka said, “We are reviewing our records to determine what transpired. We encourage customers who have medical issues to contact us so that we can note their circumstances on their accounts.”
[Featured image: Lisa Daniels/WABC (YouTube video screenshot)]