RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A Rio Rancho nurse is getting backlash for a social media comment she made after an unvaccinated man died from COVID-19. She is now apologizing but also standing by her message.

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Texas resident Coy Johnson has been documenting his father’s battle with COVID-19 on Facebook, including when his father died earlier this week. “Just a typical good dad… Just the kind of guy that would always do what needed to be done,” said Johnson. His father was unvaccinated.

“I could not really tell you why. That was his choice. It was based on what he had discussed with his doctors,” said Johnson. On the post of his father’s passing was a comment by Rio Rancho nurse Anne Gilbert, who Johnson said went to nursing school with his wife.

The comment read: “You still want to say no to vaccine. Wake up. Idiots like you and your family are keeping this virus alive and well. HOWS YOUR DAD DOING WITHOUT HIS VACCINE Coy Johnson??????”

“I don’t know if she’s ever laid eyes on my father so why she chose to weigh in and be hateful on his passing, I really can’t give you any insight,” said Johnson.

Gilbert, who co-owns Sandia Family View Medicine in Rio Rancho, said she has a history with people involved in this situation but did not elaborate.

“There are two sides to every story. Yes, my comment was not given in the most compassionate manner and for that I am sorry. However, as a healthcare provider, who has worked every single day during this pandemic, I have witnessed the loss of life daily, due to the lack of vaccinated people,” said Gilbert. “I would only hope to be able to use this platform as a way to stress to people, that we will not flatten the curve without widespread vaccination.”

A since-deleted apology on her clinic’s page claimed the comment was a private message posted out of context. Gilbert said she does not know who wrote the apology but said the comment on the public post was taken out of context.

“The public has only seen part of the discussion that went on over several days. And, a portion of the discussion was published and therefore taken out of context and I don’t really care to validate these individuals with any further response,” said Gilbert.

Johnson’s father was never treated in New Mexico but he said he’s sharing his story to share this message. “You may have a medical provider treat you differently based on whatever choice you chose to make if it doesn’t align with theirs. And maybe seek out someone who at least will treat you fair,” said Johnson.

Gilbert said she has been getting harassed and receiving death threats and that the police are now involved. She also noted that her personal opinions do not reflect those of Sandia View Family Medicine.

In a separate statement, a staff member of Sandia View Family Medicine sent the following statement:

“We are aware that a highly inappropriate social media post was written by one of Sandia View Family Practice owners, Anne Gilbert.  The statements made were harmful and insensitive and do not reflect the morals and values of Sandia View Family Medicine. We do not condone these actions and find them to be especially disturbing. We strive to be a social, religious and politically diverse community that values all beliefs and convictions. We know you are upset with the current circumstances and want to voice and express concerns, please know that we heard you and have taken your messages seriously.
As an equal partner in the practice, Priscilla Torres is in the process of legally dissolving the business relationship and is proceeding to open a new facility that in no way will be affiliated with Sandia View Family Medicine.

Our hearts, prayers and condolences go out to the family and friends who lost their loved one to COVID-19 and wish them comfort during this difficult time.”