Woman reveals heartbreaking final messages with fiancé who died from covid-19

29 April 2020, 12:32

Sarah Collins

By Sarah Collins

A woman from Lancashire has told LBC News about the final messages she received from her fiancé before he died in hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Katie Martin has spoken out in the hope that her story will encourage people to continue following Government guidelines on social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Katie, who works as a home care manager, says it’s still too soon to lift lockdown and worries that people are becoming complacent.

Katie and her partner Richard
Katie and her partner Richard. Picture: LBC News

Her partner Richard McKeag had been volunteering as a community carer during the last few weeks of his life.

He and Katie began feeling ill two weeks ago and were able to get tested at Manchester airport, it was confirmed the couple both had coronavirus, she has since recovered from the illness.

A message from Richard to Katie
A message from Richard to Katie. Picture: LBC News

Richard, who was 29 began to have difficulty breathing. Katie called 111, Richard was admitted to hospital and died four days later.

Katie wasn’t able to spend time with her fiancé in hospital and hasn’t been able to see him since his death. A nurse allowed her to facetime Richard before he was put onto a ventilator to improve his oxygen levels, Katie told LBC News about their emotional final conversation:

“The nurse called me to explain that he wasn’t oxygenating, he wasn’t taking in the oxygen he was getting, the worst thing was his body was getting tired, he was getting too exhausted to carry on fighting himself so that’s when they decided to put him on a ventilator.

“Luckily, he still had full capacity at this point he was messaging me saying ‘They’re going to put me on a ventilator babe, I love you so much. I love my Gran’; at this point I was really upset and I was saying ‘Don’t say that, I need you, you need to be alright’ and that’s when he said ‘Thank you for the best life but it’s a 50/50 chance and it’s in God’s hands now’ and that’s the last time I spoke to him’.

“I was able to Facetime him, the nurse let me speak to him. At that point, I was unwell, so he was reassuring me saying “don’t be upset, it’s okay, you’re going to be okay, stop crying, don’t worry”.

The heartbreaking exchange between the pair
The heartbreaking exchange between the pair. Picture: LBC News

Katie was kept informed of Richard’s condition over the coming days. His organs slowly started to fail, and she was told he’d need dialysis to help his kidneys, she says she still thought, he’d be okay in the end.

“I was scared and I was upset but in my head I was thinking, he’s going to be alright, he’s just going to be on a ventilator for a few days while his body fights it and then once he’s able, he’s going to come off and he’s going to come home. In my head he’s still at the hospital and he’s going to come home soon when he’s better”.

A week ago, Katie got the news that Richard had died, he’s suffered a cardiac arrest and couldn’t be resuscitated. She says she’s still struggling to take in the news.

“I still think he’s at the hospital because I haven’t seen him, I don’t know any different. There’s no closure there. I don’t think it’s going to feel real at the funeral, we can have ten people there, I just don’t know how we’re going to get that closure," Katie said.

She added: “There’s thousands of families going through the exact same thing, I don’t want to make it just about me and Richard, that’s our story, everyone has got their own. I just think families should be allowed five minutes, if someone’s deteriorating give them PPE and just allow them five minutes to allow that closure, it’s mentally affecting families”.

Richard died four days after being admitted to hospital
Richard died four days after being admitted to hospital. Picture: LBC News

The couple had been together for five years and were planning to get married, Katie’s now facing life alone: “Richard was so funny; he went out of his way to make people laugh. He was so loving it didn’t matter if someone did him wrong or if he didn’t agree, he wouldn’t do harm against you. He just wanted to help other people, he was selfless, he was lovely, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.

“He’d just kind of got his life how he wanted it, he was happy, he was settled. We were making plans for his 30th birthday to go to Scotland, just a couple of weeks ago he was dancing round the flat saying “Oh we’re going get married, we’re going to go to Gretna Green” he was just so excited and now that’s gone, it’s not going to happen”.

“I feel deprived of it all. I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot. I thought he’d be here, I thought we’d grow old together, I thought we’d have the house and the kids and the grandkids and all the things to come in the future and now it’s gone and that’s the hardest bit”

“People need to realise this is what they’re risking by going out, please stay at home. I know it’s hard and that you love your family but surely it’s better to stay at home for a few weeks so that they can be there at the end of this?”.

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She hopes that other people will hear her story and cherish their loved ones.

“Those that you love, those that you’re living with, hold them extra tight, keep them extra safe, give them an extra squeeze before they go to bed or school or work because they might not come back”.