Coronavirus

Woman (82) who died from coronavirus was a 'loving mother'

Ruth Burke with her daughter Brenda Doherty. Picture from Facebook

An 82-year-old woman has died in hospital from coronavirus, her family have said.

Ruth Burke died in Antrim Area Hospital at 7.30pm yesterday.

She was the fourth person in Northern Ireland to die from the virus.

Her daughter Brenda Doherty posted on Facebook earlier today that her mother had died.

In a highly emotional interview, Ms Doherty told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme today her mother developed a very high temperature several days ago and tested positive for Covid-19.

"She was the queen of our family. She had five children - Jennifer, me, Paul, Richard and Colum. Richard died when he was 16 years of age of a brain tumour," she said.

"Mum was a really strong woman and managed to cope with that."

READ MORE: Mater closes its doors to A&E patients as it becomes Belfast's 'covid hospital'

Ms Doherty said her mother went into hospital two weeks ago.

While in hospital she was diagnosed with an infection.

The family had hoped she would be discharged on Friday but there was no appropriate care package in place.

"On Saturday evening I received a phone-call that mum was Covid-19 positive," she said.

A tearful Ms Doherty said she last saw her mother on Thursday night before the hospital banned visitors.

"I said to her 'sure we all love you mummy and see you soon' and I left her then," she said.

"On Thursday night as far as we were concerned she was recovering... there were no other symptoms."

Ms Doherty said she could not fault the care her mother received in hospital.

"I cannot praise the staff enough for what they are doing. The NHS staff have been absolutely fantastic. They've been very respectful of mum."

Ms Doherty said a doctor who rang to say that her mother was unlikely to survive the night agreed to tell her mother that she was loved by her family.

A nurse also sang with her mother on Sunday and chatted to her about her family.

"For me it's not just about the medical care it's the emotional care that they have provided to my mum over these last few weeks," Ms Doherty said.

She added: "I don't want my mum being another statistic. She was a loving mother. She was a strong person. She survived the death of a child which as a mother I can't imagine. She lived for all of us and she lived for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

Ms Doherty said she was appalled that people were not adhering to social distancing guidelines.

"There's no way that she will be the last because people aren't doing as they're told," she said.

She added: "People's lives are in danger. Catch a grip."

Ms Doherty said she was upset that she will not be able to view her mother's body.

"Not to be able to kiss my mum and leave a lipstick mark on her is heartbreaking," she said.

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