'They were both super cautious': Shropshire woman in emotional appeal after both her parents die from Covid

A Shropshire woman who lost both her parents to Covid has issued an emotional appeal for people to take the virus seriously.

Katie's parents, John and Susan Docherty.
Katie's parents, John and Susan Docherty.

Katie Tong, from Shrewsbury, suffered the heartbreak of both her parents dying within nine days of each other – both killed by coronavirus.

She has revealed the terrible effect of the virus, and the heartbreaking last call with her father – which had to take place over video.

Susan Docherty 62, and her husband John, 65, died within nine days of each other at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital respectively in November.

Katie, 32, said the family had been left devastated at the sudden loss of their parents, who had been married for 44 years.

She explained how she had initially thought they only had a cold.

“They both had underlying health issues, but they both had a good quality of life," Katie said.

"My mum suffered badly from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and my dad had asthma. They were both super cautious and followed all the measures to keep them safe.

Symptoms

“I genuinely thought they had a common cold. Initially they didn’t have any of the three-main Covid-symptoms. They were sneezing a lot – I never once thought it could be Covid because we were all so careful.

“They gradually got worse. First it was my mum, she developed other symptoms including vomiting. She had to be taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and tested positive for Covid-19.

“My dad was in a terrible state. I just remember going upstairs to visit him and he was purple in the face. He was struggling with his breathing and he was sent pretty much straight to the ICU at the Princess Royal.

“My mum was a real fighter, and she showed signs that her conditions were improving. That gave us all hope, but shortly after she started to deteriorate again."

Katie explained the heartbreak of being told that her mum's condition had rapidly declined.

She said: “I received a phone call from the hospital saying my mum had taken a turn for the worse and she might not make past the next couple of hours. It’s the phone call you never want to hear as a daughter. She said she loved us before she passed away.”

Katie said she was allowed into hospital to be with her mother during the last hours of her life.

Grieving and in the process of organising her mum’s funeral, she was given further devastating news about her dad.

Comfort

She said: “We were able to see him via video call before he passed. I played him his favourite family video. He couldn’t speak and it broke my heart – but I like to think that video brought him some comfort in those last few moments before he passed.

“I am heartbroken because he died without his family and loved ones around him.”

Katie is now urging everyone across Shropshire to keep safe.

She said: “I have lost two people I loved dearly due to Covid. Covid killed them.

“I have my own health issues and I relied heavily on my mum and dad. They always kept an eye on me when my husband was at work, but now they’re gone.

“My mum was such a compassionate and charitable person. She always set a good example and that’s something I still aspire to. She would always be knitting stuff for charity.

“I miss my Dad’s humour. It’s not just the lack of the physical presence, it’s not being able to pick up the phone and have a chat with them. If I was feeling low, I would always call them. Now I can’t see them unless I go to the cemetery.

“Please take this seriously. I’ve lost my mum and dad, but this could happen to anyone. Please be extra careful – it can strike at any time and turn your life upside down.”

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