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My 65-year-old brother, Johnny, went to the hospital in early March for extensive difficult surgeries lasting many hours. He was sent to a sub-acute Rehab Center in a nursing home for a month of Physical and Occupational Therapy and around-the-clock intravenous antibiotics. He persevered through a great deal of pain, managing it all well. I have been a Physical Therapist since 1975 and his Rehab team was very impressed with Johnny’s hard work and dedication to his program. Johnny was always a strong man with great determination. Unfortunately he got the Covid-19 virus at the nursing home. For 10 days it was mild. I was ecstatic when I found out he did so well and was to be discharged home in a few days. Then I called his room and was told he had double pneumonia and was being sent to the hospital. When I called his room the next day, no one could tell me why he was not there. After many calls, I finally was told he was on life support. No had the time to call me. What a shock! After 6 days on the ventilator, he also had kidney failure, liver and heart problems, and most likely other organ damage. It was as if he was ambushed by a machine gun that tore through his organs. After talking to several doctors, my 90-year-old mother and I concluded his situation was hopeless and made the heart breaking decision to take Johnny off the ventilator so that his last breath could be his own and he did not have to continue to suffer. I was unable to visit my brother for one and a half months due to Covid-19. We had to say goodbye via Face time while he was in an induced coma. We could not be with him or have a wake or funeral. Later they lost his body and I had to track him so I could get him to the Funeral Home. My mother and I are still suffering from such a tragic loss. No one should die like this and no family should have to go through this. My brother could have lived another fifteen years or so. Now my mother has had to outlive her child. My mom and I are totally convinced it did not have to be this way. Our government did not protect my brother and all the others. Many – including healthcare workers should still be here. Johnny, rest in peace and until we meet again, you are always in my heart and soul. I love you.

Marlene Bandfield, New Jersey

Elder man with long hair and mustache