Unvaccinated dad left heartbreaking final messages before dying in hospital with Covid

A devastated family has urged everyone to get a shot after their ‘fit and healthy’ father died of covid.

Stephen Doyle sent a heartbreaking message to his children’s mother as he lay dying in a hospital bed.

Stephen had not been vaccinated but, according to his devastated family, was “fit and healthy” before falling ill with the virus.

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The 45-year-old father of three passed away on January 3, 2022.

His cousin Michelle Pierce, a nurse at Llandudno Hospital, spoke to NorthWalesLive on behalf of the family.

She said they wanted people to realize that the coronavirus is affecting younger, healthy people who have not been vaccinated — and their families too.

Michelle, 54, said: “While Stephen was in hospital, he texted his former partner Nichola and said, ‘I’ll get the shots as soon as I can’.

Some texts from Stephen Doyle who died of the coronavirus

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

“He was against the vaccination before going 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 working as an emergency room at the time of his death, was already in hospital because of Covid, but was discharged in mid-December with antibiotics.

Michelle said: “We don’t know if he fired himself or not, but he self-isolated. His ex-partner Nichola went to visit him on December 22 and found him very unwell.”

She immediately called 999 and Stephen was hospitalized again with difficulty breathing and very low oxygen in his blood.

Within 24 hours he was transferred to the hospital’s intensive therapy unit (ITU) and on Christmas Day the decision was made to put him on a ventilator to take over his breathing.

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The family says he also had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in his leg, as far as the medical team is concerned.

Michelle: “In the run-up to the new year, the medical staff were quite positive and they tried to get him off the ventilator, but his body was fighting it and they had to stop. He still needed mechanical ventilation to keep him breathing.

“On January 2, we received a call that his condition had deteriorated.”

Doctors told the family that Stephen had developed a bilateral pneumothorax, meaning both lungs had collapsed. Doctors had to put four drains in his chest to help him breathe.

Lungs in Covid patients can become less flexible, requiring more pressure to ventilate them.

This can result in a collapsed lung. Unfortunately, in Stephen’s case, both failed.

Michelle: “The Warrington Hospital medical team called us and explained that they were running out of options.

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

Michelle said Stephens’ mother Janet, sister Nicola and his former partner want people to understand that Covid-19 doesn’t just affect the vulnerable.

She added: “People need to know that this happens to healthy people. If we can save one person by getting them vaccinated, it’s worth telling our story.

“He was just a funny guy. He loved making people laugh and was always up for a laugh. He loved spending time with his kids and making them all happy.”

Michelle, who also lost her unvaccinated father-in-law to Covid, revealed that the entire family is “devastated and numb, angry and frustrated” – and that they feel their grief could have been avoided.

“Stephen’s mother, my aunt, doesn’t want anyone to go through what we are going through,” she said. “A lot of people don’t have to go through this, do they? They just need to get vaccinated.

“All the people we know who have been vaccinated but contracted Covid had no serious symptoms. People believe things without proof.

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

dr. Nick Lyons, the executive medical director of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “My deepest condolences to Michelle and her family on their sad loss.

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