The grieving daughter of a grandmother-of-five who died from coronavirus is pleading with people to self-isolate and help stop the spread of the disease.
Eileen O’Neill, 88, from Dublin, died on Wednesday after battling the deadly virus at St Vincent’s University Hospital.
Heartbroken Siobhan Cullen spoke to Dublin Live after releasing this last photo of her beloved mum which was taken just last week as she met her new rescue puppy Molly the poodle.
Siobhan described her mum’s last moments as she begged people in Ireland to take every possible measure to self-isolate and help stop the spread of the deadly disease.
Eileen had underlying health conditions as she had respiratory problems and after she suffered a stroke in April last year.
Siobhan added: “However, she never complained and feared the thought of returning to hospital.
“So as her primary carer and being very much on top of all her meds etc. I watched her like a hawk. Apart from being tired which she often was, I had no concerns.”
Last week, Eileen was rushed to A&E after falling and when she said she felt unwell and had a fever doctors tested her for COVID-19.
“On Friday she slipped at lunchtime and her carer phoned Paramedic Lift Assist as mum was unable to get up and carers were not allowed help even though she was a tiny thing,” Siobhan said.
“He came and stayed around for a while. Shortly after he left she said she felt quite weak, her speech became slurred and she slumped to one side in the chair. The ambulance was called.
“She’d a very high temperature but she could also have been having another stroke so they persuaded her to go in an ambulance so a suspected stroke could be treated. As soon as she arrived in A&E she was isolated and tested for the virus.”
Eileen had to be kept away from the rest of the family when her test came back positive.
Siobhan said her own mum didn’t recognise her after she visited her in hospital in a full hazmat suit and mask to protect her from catching the bug.
She said: “She was in total isolation fully with it to the end with what looked to her like people in space suits coming in and out.
“Even when I got in she didn’t recognise me with my hair completely covered, masked, goggles, and face shield. God help her. So frightening.”
Siobhan has urged people to take pandemic seriously as her entire family has been in self-isolation since Monday.
She said: “Please, please, PLEASE listen to mum’s story and go overboard on protecting yourselves. If mum, who hadn’t left the house since mid February and was only in contact with six people- all symptom free, got it, anyone could.
“I want to publicly thank all the staff in St Vincent’s who looked after her and if people would please if they want to do anything make donations to Feed the Heroes.”
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