Family of man who died of COVID-19 in Mississauga Hospital speaks out

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The family members of a Toronto man who recently died of COVID-19 at a Mississauga hospital are speaking out and urging people to practice social distancing. 

Yesterday, my father-in-law passed away. He had COVID-19. He is one of the first people to pass away from this disease in Ontario,” Rick Singh Mann wrote, along with Nooreen Mann, in an emotional Facebook post

The post was written the same day that Toronto Public Health announced the death of a Toronto man who was admitted to Trillium Health Partners—Mississauga Hospital on March 14. The man in question had travelled to the UK before checking into a Toronto hospital. He was sent home to self-isolate but later sought help in Mississauga.

He died on March 21. 

Up until just over a week ago, he was healthy. Despite his age of 77, he had no other health conditions. Still drove. Still dropped off food for seniors and took them to their shared place of worship every week. He was even still working at the same grocery in Little India that he’s been operating for almost 40 years since he first came to Canada as a refugee from Uganda in the 70s,” Singh Mann wrote. 

But he died in the ICU at our hospital despite the amazing care he received from the exceptional nurses and doctors who looked after him. Despite being on a ventilator, COVID-19 took just seven days to take him away,” Singh Mann wrote. 

Both Toronto Public Health and Trillium Health Partners offered their condolences to the patient’s friends and family.

On behalf of our entire hospital, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones during this difficult time,” Michelle DiEmanuele, President and CEO, Trillium Health Partners said in a statement. 

THP’s highly trained staff care for respiratory illness every day and are prepared for communicable diseases such as COVID-19. These are extraordinary times for our community and country. The hospital is continually taking strong measures to protect our patients, people and the community. By continuing to work together, we will flatten the curve.” 

In the post, Singh Mann said that he and his wife are frontline health-care workers.

The night he was admitted, I had spent the day in meetings at our hospital to create a triage zone for COVID-19 patients. I spent the next three nights working overnight in the emergency department, screening dozens of patients for COVID while also providing care to our usual sick and wounded, meticulously applying and removing protective equipment again and again to help prevent the spread of infection,” he said, adding that he used the same protection when visiting his sick father-in-law. 

Shortly after my last overnight shift, he got worse. We drove back to the hospital to talk about his wishes for end-of-life care, and he was moved to the ICU. The next day he was placed on a ventilator because it was becoming impossible for him to breathe on his own.”

Singh Mann says the deceased “leaves behind a long legacy of love, faith, and selflessness,” and that he hopes his tragic death shows people the importance of adhering to advice from public health officials.  

Please, take all this information that you are receiving regarding COVID-19 seriously. I plead this with you not only as a front line emergency worker, but as a family member who has experienced first-hand a great loss from COVID-19.”

In his post, Singh Mann reminds people to practice social distancing, wash their hands, advocate for adequate supplies and protective equipment for health-care workers, and speak with their loved ones regarding their wishes for end-of-life care.

And remember that the story of my father-in-law’s passing will not be unique. Yes, he was elderly. But already in my hospital and across the GTA we are seeing critically ill patients across many decades of life. And some of them are younger than I am.”

Cover photo courtesy of THP’s Facebook page

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