'It did not work:' Advocate, vet treated with hydroxychloroquine before death due to COVID-19

MILWAUKEE -- George Matthews, a Milwaukee advocate and Army veteran, will be laid to rest Thursday, April 30, after passing away at the age of 67 as a result of complications of COVID-19.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way veterans are honored when they die. Matthews was saluted Wednesday, April 29 by members of the American Legion, as his sister questioned a treatment he was given that has yet to be proven effective.

Ensley Brown

"It is a magnificent loss to the community," said Ensley Brown.

Brown and other veterans with the American Legion walked into Paradise Memorial Funeral Home on Appleton Avenue in Milwaukee one-by-one Wednesday to pay their respects to Matthews during a visitation.

"We all saluted him and sent him home to Post Everlasting," said Brown.

Family said the pandemic has paused traditional 21-gun salutes.

"All of these ceremonies for veterans, those have all been temporarily stopped due to the pandemic," said Bernadine Matthews, George's sister.

George Matthews

Bernadine Matthews

Matthews died on April 21 after a lengthy hospital stay. His sister said he was given the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, being used across the country.

"George and I both had some concerns," said Bernadine Matthews.

Bernadine Matthews said the treatment did not make a difference for her brother.

"The doctor talked to me over at the hospital," said Bernadine Matthews. "The drug was used, and said it did not work, and George stated that this drug did not work."

She and the rest of his family are now left with memories of a man who served his country and community.

"A lot has been lost here," said Bernadine Matthews.

George Matthews

George Matthews worked at the Social Development Commission -- served veterans, helped snuff out poverty and gave voice to the voiceless. FOX6 News caught up with him in December 2017 at the Salvation Army's Christmas Family Feast -- his 28th year volunteering at the event. He also worked with students at Marvin Pratt Elementary School, was an usher at his church and was passionate about Rotary Club. Funeral services were scheduled for Thursday.