Coronavirus: ‘I couldn’t watch dad die over FaceTime’

Keith YatesImage copyright
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Keith Yates had been getting treatment for cancer when he fell ill with Covid-19

A woman who couldn’t bear to watch her dad “die over FaceTime” donned PPE for their final goodbye.

Keith Yates, 73, was being treated for cancer when he contracted coronavirus.

Determined her father would not die alone, Lisa Yates-Laughton went to Leicester Royal Infirmary and had to put on gloves, a gown and a mask upon arrival.

While vital, she said the gear was “a barrier, it took away some of the connection and emotion”.

Ms Yates-Laughton, 41, a police officer, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service she went to the hospital on 20 April after her father’s condition worsened.

A call from her mother had led to a “frantic” few hours – and the decision Ms Yates-Laughton should be there.

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Family handout

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Lisa Yates-Laughton said she could not watch her father die over FaceTime

“I couldn’t face the thought of him being alone, I knew I was at risk but I couldn’t think about watching him die over FaceTime. I knew that I needed to be with him,” she said.

“He’d complained about the PPE after his earlier stay in hospital, he knew it was necessary but he couldn’t read people’s faces, there was no emotion.

“I knew what he meant, I just wanted a sympathetic smile from someone. It must have been really hard for him to see me in the PPE.”

Ms Yates-Laughton spent the next 11 hours at her father’s bedside, passing on messages from the family.

She said she could sense when the end was near.

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“He looked at me and shook his head and then took off his oxygen mask.

“That offers some relief because it feels like he chose when.

“I sat holding his hand as he died with gloves on, I know that’s what I had to do, I had to wear it, but it almost felt like a barrier, it took away some of the connection and emotion.”

After Mr Yates died, a nurse came into the room and Ms Yates-Laughton told her he had gone.

“She stood on the other side of the room, I just wanted her to hug me, but she couldn’t,” she said.

“I was glad I was there, it was hard, I’m not sure how I did it but I’m relieved he wasn’t alone.

“I’m lucky really because some families aren’t given that opportunity.”

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