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Grieving daughter shares heartbreaking final photo of mum dying in hospital from coronavirus


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Co Antrim woman Deborah Buchanan posted this image just hours after mum Joan Wright (75) died from Covid-19 on Thursday.

Co Antrim woman Deborah Buchanan posted this image just hours after mum Joan Wright (75) died from Covid-19 on Thursday.

Co Antrim woman Deborah Buchanan posted this image just hours after mum Joan Wright (75) died from Covid-19 on Thursday.

A grieving daughter shared this heartbreaking final photo of her dying mum in hospital in a bid to get people to wake up to the realities of coronavirus.

Co Antrim woman Deborah Buchanan posted the image just hours after mum Joan Wright (75) died from Covid-19 on Thursday.

"This is the reality of coronavirus. Wake up and wise up," said Deborah, from Newtownabbey, as she urged people to stay at home.

She released the image as the coronavirus death toll across the UK neared the 30,000 mark.

It was Joan's last picture with loving husband Charles (80), who is also battling coronavirus, and her family by her side at Furness General Hospital, Cumbria.

Deborah told Sunday Life: "It's absolutely heartbreaking and very surreal.

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Deborah Buchanan (38) and Charles Wright (80) at Furness General Hospital following the death of Joan Wright (75) from Covid-19.

Deborah Buchanan (38) and Charles Wright (80) at Furness General Hospital following the death of Joan Wright (75) from Covid-19.

Deborah Buchanan (38) and Charles Wright (80) at Furness General Hospital following the death of Joan Wright (75) from Covid-19.

"We got into the room and it only felt like five minutes, she opened her eyes and then it was moments later that she passed away.

"When the staff came in to check on her they were in floods of tears when they told us she had passed.

"Mum and dad moved here 15 years ago to retire and were actually in the process of trying to move back when this happened. They had been together for over 50 years without a day apart.

"We want to thank Furness General Hospital and all the NHS staff on Ward 7 for everything they did for mum and us, we know a lot of people back home haven't been able to say goodbye in that way and we're extremely grateful to them.

"When a spouse dies in the hospital they give them each little knitted hearts as keepsakes. They placed my mum's under her wedding ring so she could never let go and my dad hasn't let go of his since, he won't be parted from it."

On Thursday Deborah, who works for Phoenix Gas, shared the image on Facebook detailing the family's ordeal.

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Charles Wright (80) and  Joan Wright (75), Joan died from Covid-19.

Charles Wright (80) and Joan Wright (75), Joan died from Covid-19.

Charles Wright (80) and Joan Wright (75), Joan died from Covid-19.

She said: "It breaks my heart to write this status. My mum asked me to take this photo last night around 3am, those were some of the last words she said to me.

"My mum and dad both tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday after being admitted to hospital on Friday evening.

"I received a call from the hospital in England at 4pm yesterday requesting we get there ASAP.

"We arrived at 1.30am and were provided full PPE to go and see our parents. In this photo she was happy, talking, joking, pulling faces and giving us grief as usual, she was doing well despite being on a ventilator.

"Several hours later we got a call to say we had to go back as she wasn't so good. Shortly after we arrived today, we put our PPE on and entered the room where my mum sadly passed away a very short time later, my dad holding her hand and us by her side.

"We had to watch her gasp her last breaths and slip away in agony. My dad says this is the worst thing he has ever felt in his life, he fears going to sleep in case he doesn't wake up.

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A member of staff hands over a Randox laboratories Covid-19 self test kit to a member of the public at a drive-through test centre at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA

A member of staff hands over a Randox laboratories Covid-19 self test kit to a member of the public at a drive-through test centre at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA

PA

A member of staff hands over a Randox laboratories Covid-19 self test kit to a member of the public at a drive-through test centre at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA

"They hadn't left the house in weeks but still picked this up and both took very unwell.

"My dad is still in hospital and not out of the woods yet, his heart is broken and he has to continue to fight to try and beat this."

Yesterday the Department of Health in Northern Ireland confirmed that a further 11 people have died from coronavirus here. This brings the total number of deaths in the region to 376.

A breakdown of the deaths up to Friday revealed the youngest person known to have died here with Covid-19 was aged between 20 and 39. According to the statistics, the majority of victims (230) were aged 80 or over; 16 of the victims were aged between 40 and 59; and 117 of those who died in Northern Ireland after testing positive for coronavirus were aged between 60 and 79.

The number of people who have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community across the UK after testing positive for coronavirus has risen to 28,131, up by 621. The death toll has edged closer to that of Italy, which at 28,236 is the highest in Europe.

Twenty-five more people diagnosed with Covid-19 have died in the Republic of Ireland, with a total 1,286 Covid-19 related deaths there.

Both the UK and Irish governments are planning to gradually lift restrictions over the coming months.

Despite the increasing understanding of the risks and cautious optimism, Deborah has pleaded with people to continue to adhere to social distancing rules.

She said: "This is the reality of coronavirus. Wake up and wise up. This is not going away anytime soon and more and more people are going to die.

"Don't let it be your parent or grandparent or any member of your family who ends up like this. Stay away from those you love, and protect yourselves and them.

"We were lucky we got to be with our mother/wife/grandmother when she passed away, so many families aren't given the chance to be with their loved ones and cannot say goodbye, people are dying alone and it's not right.

"Please, stay at home, please do not go through the heartache we have had to. Ours isn't over yet.

"I want to add that although my parents did not leave the house in weeks, they did have care workers and medical professionals coming into their home. So many people are asking how it's possible when they didn't leave, anything is possible with this virus."

She spoke as it emerged that there has been a tenfold increase in the number of people attending Northern Ireland's Covid-19 testing centres.

A partnership involving Serco, Deloitte and the Public Health Agency has opened three centres in Belfast, Craigavon and Londonderry. According to the department, more than 5,000 samples had been taken at the three centres by May 1.

However, overall there had been a total of 28,425 laboratory tests carried out by the same date, which could include tests carried out at other venues, including hospitals. Regional manager Chris Kelly said: "Over the last week the numbers have increased tenfold from where we first started now that testing has been opened up to all key sectors and key workers who can go on to the website and register to get tested at one of the three sites in Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph