My brother, Henry, was a kind man who was enjoying retirement. He attended a weekly ‘coffee hour’ at the community center and joined a church. He enjoyed taking photographs. He did not have a lot but he was content and happy. When driving home from the community center one day in February his car was hit from behind as he was stopped behind other cars at a railroad track crossing. The young man coming up behind him did not notice the cars were stopped and hit my brother at 40 miles an hour. Henry spent nearly a month in the hospital, in the ICU, and had two surgeries to stabilize his neck. Throughout this ordeal my brother remained true to his nature; always telling the nurses he felt ‘fine’ and asking about their day. Although it was originally planned that he would stay in a rehabilitation ward when COVID-19 appeared the hospital staff worked quickly to send my brother home with an eight-hour a day in-home care provider. He was making good progress; still using a walker and wearing a neck brace but getting stronger each day and in good spirits. After a month he was doing well enough that a tele-appointment was set up with his doctor where they were going to discuss decreasing the in-home aide time. The morning of that appointment my sister stopped by and saw that Henry was having trouble catching his breath. She tried to get him to her car but he said he was tired. An ambulance was called; my sister was told to go home because the hospital was not allowing visitors. She was still talking to my brother as he was taken away on the stretcher. By the time the ambulance got to the hospital, which is very close, my brother was receiving CPR. He was given an initial diagnosis of a lung clot and placed on a ventilator; he went into heart failure four more times. Within three hours of leaving home he had died. Later that day we were told that he tested positive for COVID-19. I do not know if his death certificate indicates the COVID but I firmly believe that he would have continued to recover from the car accident if he had not caught this virus. From who we will never know, was it the in-home aide, the grocery delivery, other staff from the aide service who brought adaptive supplies, relatives who visited him? None of us got sick. Henry died on April 15th, 2020.
Submitted by Pamela Puro.
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