A grief-stricken son has today described the ‘pure torture’ of watching his 83-year-old mother ‘suffocate to death’ because of coronavirus and now he has to self-isolate from his three children.
Michael Hardy, 47, watched his 83-year-old mother Rachael pass away at Northwich Park Hospital, Harrow, after the killer virus ravaged her lungs and left her gasping for breath.
Mrs Hardy, a former NHS nurse with chronic asthma, had bravely battled coronavirus since March 10- but her condition worsened violently last week and she died last Friday – one of the 465 who have passed away in the UK.
Only days earlier she was filmed smiling as she did an ‘elbow bump’ with one of her children in her hospital bed.
Her son Michael was with her when she died and told Sun Online: ‘It was like suffocating to death – gasping – you’re not able to breathe. It just happened so quick, she was deteriorating in front of us’.
His brother Angelo, 56, added: ‘It was pure torture. Mum was trying to tell us lots of things but she couldn’t get it out, she was struggling. I think she was aware of what was happening.’
Racheal Hardy’s tragic death has been repeated hundreds of times in the past month as coronavirus sweeps through the country – but many are dying without loved-ones beside them.
Earlier, Michael had filmed a jovial conversation with his mother, who was in ‘high spirits’, while she lay in her hospital bed just hours before her illness rapidly worsened.
Rachael, who lived alone in Eastcote, north east London, first suffered from a cough and fever on March 10 – and after ringing 111 went into hospital.
But the next day she was sent home with antibiotics.
Just four days later she fell onto the floor and couldn’t get up, leading to her son finding her next to her bed 72 hours later.
She was severely dehydrated and taken back into hospital where, on Thursday, March 19, she was diagnosed with coronavirus. She died the next day.
Her son Michael, who runs a telephone company, thought his mother would be okay right until the end. And described her death as a ‘shock’.
He said Rachael, who had chronic asthma as well as mobility issues, was housebound and never went anywhere so he couldn’t understand where she might have picked up the highly contagious illness.
Michael managed to persuade hospital staff to allow him to don full protective equipment – which he described as a ‘space suit’ – to visit his mother’s ward.
He explained his surprise the moment he was confronted by dozens of patients, some gasping for breath, as they battled the deadly virus.
Michael thought that because his ‘happy and loving’ mother had survived a difficult upbringing, heavy bombing during WW2 and a run-in with Cypriot terrorists, she would be okay.
Rachael, who was born in Hull, was given up by her ‘unwell’ mother and raised by an adoptive family who treated her as a slave.
She left for London at the age of 18 and worked as a nurse, but later left to join The Navy, Army and Airforce Institutes in Cyprus.
There she fell in love with Paul’s father, a high-ranking police officer who worked for a secret force, but had to leave when he was viciously beaten up by EOKA terrorists.
Last week, when the hospital called with bad news Michael and Angelo raced to the isolation ward to put their brother Paul, 59, and Michael’s kids on the phone to speak to her.
Before the pair left the ward, their mum told them: ‘I’m tired now, I’m going to go to sleep.’ She later passed away.
The brothers are now self-isolating together in Harmondsworth, Hillingdon.