National

Bereaved family recalls their loved one's battle with COVID-19

Jiji

As the virus continues to spread in Japan, bereaved family members of a man in his 70s are reflecting on the loss of their loved one due to pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus.

“I can’t taste anything,” the man was quoted by his family as saying when he was fighting COVID-19, asking them to bring some salt and umeboshi pickled plums.

During hospitalization, the man suffered from a high fever and complained of feeling very cold, said the family, who asked not to be named.

The man first developed a fever in March. He was later hospitalized after an X-ray showed shadows in his lungs, and he tested positive for the coronavirus.

During his hospitalization, his family members were not allowed to see him, but were able to talk with him over the phone.

His condition deteriorated several days later. He repeatedly complained of being cold, and his fever did not subside.

Later, he barely was able to talk over the phone and lost his sense of taste. He had a severe underlying disease, the family said.

The man was given an anti-AIDS drug and Avigan, an influenza drug, which are believed to be effective in treating COVID-19.

Later, he became unable to talk as he was put on an artificial ventilator.

“I’m all right,” the man said on the morning of the day when he was put on the ventilator. Those were his last words, according to the family.

The family members were not allowed to visit with him directly and had to say goodbye to him through the glass of an intensive care unit. He was already unconscious and died without suffering too much, the family said.

A member of the family said tearfully that he died without even knowing that they had come to see him.

Contained in a special bag, his body was put in a coffin.

Although the family hoped to bring his body to his house, it was instead sent directly to a funeral hall from the hospital. The family also wanted the hearse carrying his body to pass in front of his house, but that wish was also not realized.

The man loved taking pictures of his grandchildren. One of his grandchildren, an infant, initially was unable to accept his death. The infant cried quietly when his body was carried out of the funeral hall.

Having gone through the loss of a loved one, the family is calling for consideration and compassion to be shown to family members of people infected with the coronavirus.

“I’ve felt a strong sense of discrimination,” a member of the bereaved family said. “One of my colleagues asked me if I was also infected with the virus.”

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