A woman who lost her 98-year-old dad to Covid says that being unable to hold his hand when he died will “haunt” her “for the rest of her days. Jean Adamson, 58, says her dad Aldrick who was part of the Windrush generation caught Covid at a London care home and was forced to speak to her through the window during visits.
The social care and healthcare consultant says it’s not “that easy” to move on after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fined for breaking lockdown rules and having a party in Downing street. And two years after her father – a former London Underground worker died on April 15, 2020, the mum-of-one says she feels that the government “are taking us for fools”.
Before catching Covid, Jean says her father was in good health and that had defied medics who had given him three to six months to live in 2018. But after last holding her father on March 7, 2020, days later, the care home went into lockdown before the national lockdown was announced by the government.
READ MORE: Dad died of Covid ‘surrounded by people in hazmat suits’ after family queued to be told bad news by doctors
(Image: Jean Adamson)
Jean said: “We were reduced to speaking to him from outside the window. He was on the ground floor so we were able to poke around the window and say hello to him. But certainly in terms of providing any comfort, tactile comfort – that was absolutely out of the question during his dying days.
“I didn’t want him to die starved of oxygen because they don’t have oxygen in the care homes. So he went to the hospital.”
Weeks later, on April 15, 2020, Aldrick died alone at Whipps Cross hospital in London – something Jean says will “haunt her” forever.
She said: “We weren’t able to even hold his hand, you know, which is something that stays with me and which haunts me all day for the rest of my days. It was just so, so sad. We made a lot of sacrifices, you know, bereaved families. But I think that I personally made a lot of sacrifices as well.”
(Image: Jean Adamson)
Jean says that she was offered an opportunity to visit her father for 20 minutes before he died wearing full PPE; however, she worried she would pass on the virus to her other family members.
Jean said: “It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. You know and I was getting ready to go and then my daughter rang me and she said, ‘oh my god, please don’t go.’ She said the risk was too high. And I’ve got young grandsons and if she said to me, ‘please don’t go because dad wouldn’t want you to take that risk.’
“We didn’t really know what we were dealing with. You know, we had this fatal virus that was spreading rapidly.”
Jean was unable to hold the funeral her choir singer father would have wanted because of restrictions, and instead they were forced to have a seven-person farewell by his graveside.
She said: “Many years before he died he talked about what funeral he would have wanted. He wanted a church congregation thing in his favourite hymns. And we weren’t able to give him that, you know, instead there were a few of us around the graveside.
“You know, when our loved ones died knowing the circumstances to think, that the Prime Minister and his government ministers and civil servants in the Whitehall bubble partied away. It’s all well for the Prime Minister to say, ‘let’s move on. You know, let’s move on’. It might be easy for him to but for the 180,000 families in this country. It’s not as easy as that.”
Jean, from Brentwood in Essex, says her father contracted Covid in the care home as he was bed bound and couldn’t leave.
“My dad contracted the virus in the care home,” she said. “There’s no doubt about that because he was bed bound. He didn’t go out. So the virus was brought to him in the care home, maybe by one of the staff.”
(Image: Jean Adamson)
Jean says that government failures in policy led to unnecessary deaths and to find out that parties took place during lockdown seems that they “weren’t taking” the pandemic “seriously”.
She said: “Clearly they weren’t taking it seriously. At any level. They’re in government. Their behaviour was negligent. It did not show the duty of care that such a high office demands. They didn’t show that.
“The way that the virus was seeded into the care home by admitting people from hospitals brought the virus in. The Prime Minister has neglected it. It’s a dereliction of duty the way he ran his government.”
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Conservative MPs have argued that the Prime Minister must stay in office, however, Jean believes the opposite.
She said: “I would say the opposite of that. I think that we need somebody who carries that gravitas that you would expect from a leader. A Prime Minister. He hasn’t got that. He’s out there on the world stage as our Prime Minister and quite frankly he’s an embarrassment to us around the world.
“I think we need a Prime Minister who can carry themselves with integrity and who can command the respect of people not just here in the UK but around the world. This is not the behaviour of a man who holds that office. He should have gone a long time ago.”
The Prime Minister has said that he didn’t knowingly break the rules however, for families like Jean, she believes he is taking them for “fools”.
She said: “That’s rubbish. That is utter nonsense. I mean, it’s ridiculous. And that’s been the problem all along. He takes us for fools. He’s not sorry about anything. . They’re in Whitehall, which you know, that they have no regard for the real world. What was going on in the real world? The sacrifices that people were making.”
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