My father, Stephen F. Williams died from complications from COVID-19 on August 7, 2020. He was admitted to Sibley Hospital on May 21st and a week later he was put on a ventilator. My family called him everyday and asked the nurses to put the phone to his ear. After 4 weeks on the ventilator we gave permission for him to get a tracheostomy. The doctors and nurses kept trying to wean him off the ventilator. The doctors allowed my mother to visit him twice a week once she tested negative for COVID because they thought he wouldn’t make it. She had to put on PPE. The doctors at Sibley didn’t feel comfortable putting a peg tube in him and I think they just couldn’t handle having him in ICU anymore, so he was transported to Bridgepoint Acute Care where there was a staffperson whose job was to have Zoom daily meetings with the family. It was heartbreaking and traumatic to see him with glazed eyes and his mouth wide open and unable to communicate, save for a slight movement of his eyebrows, when we thought he might be in pain. We were forever hopeful he would make it, but being 83 and on a ventilator for an extended amount of time, just made his body too week. He eventually died of kidney failure. The doctors at Bridgepoint did a medical resussitation so my mother could say goodbye to him. She said she felt he had squeezed his hand. I was driving back from a hike in Cactoctin, MD when I got a call from my sister. She said, “We have the phone to Dad’s ear so you can say goodbye.” As soon as they turned off the ventilator, he died.
– Susan Williams Ellis, Washington D.C