Bronx, NY – A 49-year-old retired New York police officer died from COVID-19 complications on Monday, according to his family.
Retired New York Police Department (NYPD) Officer Arthur “Lee” Green was rushed to the hospital with symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus on March 20, the New York Daily News reported.
Doctors initially believed he was suffering from pneumonia and sent him home.
“I believe he was misdiagnosed,” his wife, Tiffany Whitlock, told the New York Daily News. “He could have had a chance.”
The retired officer, who suffered from acute asthma, sleep apnea, and other health conditions, didn’t have severe enough symptoms during his first hospital visit to warrant further action, Whitlock said.
“They gave him something for the cough,” she recalled. “He had a fever, but it went away.”
By Sunday, Officer Green’s symptoms had worsened and he was struggling to breathe, the New York Daily News reported.
He was again rushed back to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
“They tried the new medication that they’re talking about on the news, the lupus medication [hydroxychloroquine], but it didn’t work for him the way it worked for other patients…because it had gone too far,” Whitlock said.
She said she believes the medical staff tried everything they could in an effort to save his life.
“They were really trying at the hospital,” she said. “They knew he was still fighting. The doctor was hopeful, but it was too late.”
Officer Green succumbed to the illness the following day.
Whitlock said she believes her husband contracted the coronavirus on March 14, when he attended a friend’s birthday party in Yonkers, the New York Daily News reported.
Their friend was diagnosed with COVID-19 several days later.
Officer Green was once a St. John’s University basketball player who hoped to play professionally in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the New York Daily News reported.
When that plan didn’t materialize, he decided to join the city’s police force instead.
Officer Green spent more than 10 years serving with the NYPD’s Transit District 12, where he patrolled the subway lines, the New York Daily News reported.
“He was always eager to learn. Very smart,” NYPD Detective Tracey Davis told the news outlet. “A people person – everybody knows him in the street.”
Officer Green brought his love of basketball with him to the NYPD, where he played on the department’s team.
He retired from the force in 2019.
In addition to his wife, Officer Green also leaves behind his stepchildren.
“He practically raised them,” Whitlock said. “Everybody’s taking it hard…I think everybody’s still in disbelief.”