Unvaccinated dad-of-nine was desperate for jab just before Covid death

Heartbreaking news from an unvaccinated nine-year-old father revealed how desperate he was to get the Covid vaccination in hospital days before he died.

The WhatsApp message Stephen Doyle, from Runcorn, Cheshire, sent to his ex-partner Nichola while he was in the hospital missing Christmas saying he would “get the stitches” as soon as possible.

However, the otherwise healthy 45-year-old died on January 3 at Warrington Hospital of Covid complications, leaving relatives and friends “devastated”. CheshireLive reported.

In an exchange with Nichola, Stephen shared how upset he was that he was not allowed to visit over Christmas, and his ex-partner assured him that the family would have “another Christmas Day.”

She said to him: “We will definitely have another Christmas Day on which you are on the road, the food, the gifts, the whole thing, but as long as you (sic) are fine and okay and we still have you here have (sic) Missing Christmas isn’t a big deal at the moment.

“I’ll film them when they open their nets and send you lots of pictures too.”

In response, Stephen said, “Okay thank you, if you get a Christmas picture, bring one of them tightly together to fit on my screensaver. Give them the best day please, they still deserve it.

“I’ll get the jabs as soon as I can.”

After his death, his cousin Michelle Pierce, a nurse at Llandudno Hospital, spoke on behalf of the family.

She said they wanted people to realize that the coronavirus is affecting younger, healthy people who haven’t been vaccinated – and their families too.

Michelle, 54, said: “When Stephen was in the hospital, he texted his ex-partner, Nichola, saying, ‘I’ll get the shots asap.’

“He said he never wanted to go through that again. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to get vaccinated. It was too late for him.

“He was against the vaccination before he came in and I would say he was influenced by all the talk on social media.

“He had no underlying health problems. He was fit and healthy.”

The former dock worker, who was shipping manager at the time of his death, was already in hospital because of Covid, but was discharged with antibiotics in mid-December.

Michelle said, “We don’t know if he fired or not, but he has isolated himself. Nichola visited him on December 22nd and found him very unwell.”

She immediately called 999 and Stephen was admitted back to the hospital with difficulty breathing and very low blood oxygen levels.

Within 24 hours he was transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ITU) and on Christmas Day the decision was made to put him on mechanical ventilation.

The family says he also had deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in his leg, which worried the medical team.

Michelle said, “Before the New Year, the medical staff was pretty positive and they tried to get him off ventilation, but his body was struggling and they had to stop. He still needed mechanical ventilation to keep breathing.

“We got a call on January 2nd that his condition had worsened.”

Doctors told the family that Stephen had developed bilateral pneumothorax, which means both lungs had collapsed and four drains had to be placed in his chest to help him breathe.

Michelle said, “The medical team at Warrington Hospital called us and said they were running out of options.

“On January 3rd, they told the family there was nothing they could do. So the decision was made to stop the treatment.”

Michelle said Stephen’s mother, Janet, sister Nicola and his ex-partner want people to understand that Covid-19 isn’t just affecting those in need of protection.

She added, “People need to know this is happening to healthy people. If we can save a person by getting them vaccinated, it is worth telling our story.

“He was just a fun guy. He liked to make people laugh and was always up for a laugh. He loved spending time with his children and making them all happy. “

Michelle, who also lost her unvaccinated father-in-law to Covid, announced that the whole family is “devastated and deaf, angry and frustrated”.

“Stephen’s mother, my aunt, doesn’t want anyone to go through what we’re going through,” she said.

“A lot of people don’t have to go through this, do they? You should just get vaccinated.

“All of the people we know who were vaccinated but caught on Covid did not have severe symptoms. People believe things with no evidence.

“Please go out and get vaccinated and prevent your family from going through what we go through as a family – it could be avoided.”

Dr. Nick Lyons, executive medical director of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “I can only condolences Michelle and her family for their sad loss.

“I also want to praise their courage to think of others so soon after losing a loved one.

“You are absolutely right, of course – a full Covid shot is by far the best way to protect your health during the pandemic.

“I want to urge people to listen to their story and make arrangements to get vaccinated now.”

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