A widow has told of her confusion after her husband died suddenly in the hospital with coronavirus, leaving her to say her last goodbyes in a telephone call with the nurse looking after him.
Pat Pearce said that her partner of 38 years, had shown no prior signs of the virus when he was taken ill at their bungalow in Penarth.
The 72-year-old retired electrician’s mate was rushed to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff in the early hours of Saturday, April 4 with a suspected angina attack but passed away the same day.
His spouse keeps believing that he’s going to wander through the door any minute because she simply can’t process what happened and she couldn’t get to be with her partner in his last moments.
They’d been self-isolating for weeks and her partner hadn’t seemed unwell at all, aside from complaining about a bit of heartburn. So, finally, she rang the doctor’s surgery and from the description, she’d given them, they told her to ring 999 because it sounded like he was having an angina attack.
That was around 6 pm, but before an ambulance could arrive, Allan, who’d been fitted with a pacemaker in 2019 and suffered from a neuromuscular disease called myasthenia gravis, took a turn for the worse.
She heard a tremendous noise and when she went out into the hallway she found her husband on the floor in a shocking mess. He was awake but couldn’t speak, only grunt, so she kept him comfortable the best she could and called 999 again.
The paramedics arrived in the early hours of Saturday to take Allan to the hospital where he tested positive for coronavirus.
It was a cold, damp night and he was only in his boxer shorts with a dressing gown wrapped around his shoulders and his wife Pat Pearce was told that she couldn’t go with him, and at 5.30 am a doctor called her from the hospital to informed her that her husband Allan wouldn’t last until the Monday because his organs were now breaking down.
She asked one of the nurses there to tell him she was sorry she couldn’t be with him and that she loved him very much but then the telephone rang again at 11.15 that same day and she was informed that he’d died but she just can’t help wondering if things might have been different had the ambulance not taken so long to turn up.
She said that she lacked any sense of closure over his death. That she’s alone in the house, enclosed by all his stuff and his clothes still hanging up and that it simply feels so surreal.
She said that she doesn’t know how he could have got it, other than popping to the store one time to get the daily paper because neither of them had left the house for ages and that he didn’t even go into the garden during all the recent warm weather.
And, with her husband’s body having already been cremated, she said that she hopes to eventually scatter his ashes somewhere which was close to his heart. She said they both loved it in Corfu and that she’s hoping that when this is all over, she’ll be able to visit one last time to say her goodbyes properly.
A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said that their thoughts were with Mrs Pearce and her family at this difficult time and that their bereavement service had been in touch with Mrs Pearce as per their usual practice and that they would encourage her to please contact their patient experience team who would be able to address this further with her and guide her to available support.
Lee Brooks, director of operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service said that they were saddened to learn of the news about Mr Pearce’s passing and that they would like to extend their sympathies to Mrs Pearce and the wider family.
And that they understand Mrs Pearce will have questions about their response time that evening and they would urge her to contact them directly so that they can understand the event further and clarify those issues.
It appears that Allan Pearce died from something other than COVID 19, as he had a bad heart. He might have been the carrier of the virus because he had no symptoms, but it doesn’t appear that he died of it, even though they’ll put on the death certificate that he did – makes you think, doesn’t it?
My heart goes out to his family, but why put that the virus killed him when it was his heart? And this is a highly misleading headline and this is a good one to add to the project of fear.
It could have been that he was unfortunate when he went to the store for a newspaper, but it does sound more like a heart attack. Heartburn is a typical manifestation, and not to alarm people, when they say heartburn like symptoms, that sort of heartburn doesn’t normally go away and he may have suffered for a few days and didn’t connect it to his heart.
Nevertheless, this poor woman has lost her husband and whether he died from a heart attack or coronavirus is irrelevant, he died, but what’s important is that it should have been recorded properly on his death certificate.
Was this poor man given a post-mortem after his death or did the hospital simply assume he died from COVID 19 – you know what they say, assumption is the mother of all f**k ups and was this simply more intentional fear tactics again?