Cork man lost his mother to Covid-19 while in induced coma for same virus

"People think it's a myth and it is far from a myth, I can tell you that."
Cork man lost his mother to Covid-19 while in induced coma for same virus
Ian O'Sullivan with his mother, Mary. Picture: The Neil Prendeville Show

A Cork man has told of how he learned his mother had passed away from Covid-19 after he had come out of an induced coma for the same virus.

Ian O'Sullivan, who was the first person admitted to Cork's Mercy Hospital with Covid-19, came out of a 12-day coma and was told over Facetime that his mother had passed away.

Speaking to The Neil Prendeville Show on Cork's RedFM, Ian told that he was a full-time carer to his 83-year-old mother, Mary, until he became ill.

In the early days of the pandemic for Ireland, Ian began to feel unwell with some of the symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

He knew from media reports and HSE advice to ring his GP and immediately isolate himself.

While he waited for an appointment to get a test, Ian isolated in his bedroom away from his mother as his sisters dropped food and other essentials to the door for them.

Ten days later and still no appointment for a test, Ian woke up unable to breathe and contacted his GP who immediately called for an ambulance.

Ian wished his mother well as he left their home. It would be the last time he ever saw her.

I left my home that morning and I never saw my mother again.

The first person admitted to the Mercy Hospital, Ian was kept in isolation from other patients.

Two days later, his mother was admitted to the same hospital and was just across the way from Ian.

"I was so close and yet so far, as in distance," Ian said.

It's not known which of them would have had the virus first.

The father-of-one said it was "a very scary time for my family" as he was put into a coma and fighting for his life and his mother was seriously ill.

Ian's mother unfortunately passed away four days before he was brought out of the coma.

Once Ian was alert, the nurses brought his phone to him as his sister wanted him to hear the news from family.

Ian learned of his mother's passing via Facetime while lying in a hospital bed unable to have any visitors to console him.

"I relive it quite a bit," he said of the call.

He thanked the staff at the Mercy Hospital not just for their help with his physical health but for the emotional and mental support they provided him at the extremely difficult time.

I will take it to my own grave that I wasn't at my mother's funeral.

Before being put under, Ian had another difficult conversation over the phone as he explained to his nine-year-old daughter what was happening.

"I told her I loved her, that I was sick and that I had to go and do this to get better.

"She understood to a certain extent. Obviously, she was crying and upset - a bit like myself."

Thankfully, once he was successfully out of the coma, Ian was on the road to recovery.

While grieving the loss of his mother, Ian was going through rehab and relearning how to walk.

As the R number rises and there is concern about the number of new cases being reported, Ian is warning people against complacency.

"People think it's a myth and it is far from a myth, I can tell you that."

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