‘My mother’s death was “even more devastating” because I was unable to hold her hand’– Heartbreak as coronavirus victims die alone in isolation

A grieving daughter has said her mother’s death was “even more devastating” because she was unable to hold her hand.

The loved ones of people who have died after becoming infected with the coronavirus have expressed their heartbreak at not be able to be with their loved ones in their final moments.

Caroline Hopton’s mother had been put into isolation because of the virus meaning relatives couldn’t be by her side before her death.

Ms Hopton wrote on Twitter:

“COVID-19 stopped me holding my dearest mum’s hand in her final moments last night.

“She died alone in isolation after being admitted early Saturday AM (sic) and was put in isolation ‘just in case’.

“It made losing her even more devastating.

“How many other families will go through the same?”

Father-of-one Darrell Blakelely, 88, was also isolated in hospital after contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

His daughter-in-law Allie Crewe said it was a “difficult and tragic death” for the family on Friday due to Mr Blakeley’s separation in quarantine.

She added that Mr Blakeley could not be treated for an underlying health condition “due to coronavirus restrictions”.

Ms Crewe wrote on Facebook:

“The hospital were really super and tried to support us as much as possible, their kindness helped a lot.

“Not being able to sit with him was very hard for us. He remained in quarantine in an air locked room.

“This has been quite a difficult and tragic death, so send love and light.”

Friends of Mr Blakelely, a church choir singer from Middleton, Greater Manchester, said he contracted the virus at a restaurant after coming into contact with a skier returning from Italy.

The granddaughter of a 97-year-old coronavirus patient who died in northern Italy has told Sky News of her devastation that she never had the chance to say goodbye.

Dr Vanessa Diaz, who lives in the UK, was unable to make the trip to be with her grandfather.

She said:

“It is difficult for me because my family were in the epicentre of the outbreak.

“My mum kept me updated while I was here in the UK, but there was very little I could do.

“This is such a strange situation to be in. It is so hard losing a family member. Knowing what I know first-hand, I am worried about what will happen in the UK next.”

“My grandfather was 97. He woke up in the morning around seven with a high temperature and when my mum rang for an ambulance, she was told the hospitals were swamped and the virus was everywhere.

“They said it was better for him to stay at home, with the people he loved. By eight o’clock that evening he was dead.”

“My family live in a relatively small town, so my grandfather was buried very quickly.

“Those who die go directly to the burials and only a few family members can attend.”

Dr Diaz said she knows people who are so concerned “they are leaving the country to be with their families in Italy”, despite the foreign office warning against all travel to the country.

A doctor has described the last moments of coronavirus patients, saying they remain lucid until the end and ask to talk to their loved ones by phone as they realise they are dying.

“You know what’s most dramatic? Seeing patients dying alone, listening to them as they beg you to say goodbye to their children and grandchildren.”

“Patients arrive on their own, and “when they are about to die, they sense it”.

“Your lungs fill with a sticky mucus.”

“They are lucid, they do not go into narcolepsy. It is as if they were drowning, but with time to understand it.

“A dying grandmother had recently asked her to see her granddaughter.”

“I pulled out the phone and called her on video. They said goodbye. Soon after she was gone.

“By now I have a long list of video calls. I call it a farewell list.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families affected. Let’s send them love and light, we all cannot imagine a loved one dying alone like this.

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