Family devastated as father dies in Craigavon hospital after contracting Covid-19 'days before discharge'
John Fleming, a 79-year-old man from Loughgilly, Co Armagh, died last night after being diagnosed with Covid-19 while being treated in the haematology ward of Craigavon Area Hospital. As he faced his final hours, his family spoke to The Irish News about how he felt the hospital was at fault
THE family of a 79-year-old man who is in his "final hours" of life after contracting Covid-19, say the hospital is to blame for the deadly diagnosis.
John Fleming from Loughgilly, Co Armagh, was diagnosed with the virus on August 17 at Craigavon Area Hospital just days before he was due to be discharged.
Mr Fleming was being treated in the haematology ward for myeloma, a blood cancer.
He was moved to the respiratory unit for specialist treatment, but his condition has deteriorated further with his family yesterday allowed to see him for what are likely to be their final goodbyes.
The father-of-four is one of 14 confirmed coronavirus patient cases on his ward, with 16 staff also testing positive and now self isolating.
Another 40 staff members are also self isolating and "a detailed investigation is on-going".
Three staff in A&E have the virus and one member of staff and one patient have tested positive in Ward 3 South with 11 staff there self -isolating.
Mr Fleming's daughter Yvonne Stewart said the family are devastated to lose him to a disease contracted in hospital after months of keeping him safe at home.
"My dad is dying. Patients from the haematology ward are being moved to respiratory....We've been told these are his final hours.
"The talk is that it is patients with underlying issues, but it is Covid that's killing him," she said.
"He was only in hospital so they could keep an eye on how he responded to this new treatment. He wasn't dying."
She said her father "knows this is the end" and was upset when "he knew he would not be getting out".
"He doesn't blame the doctors, he blames the hospital," she said.
"The hospital is saying they have this `under control' in the haematology ward, but they're not saying they have moved those patients to respiratory when they can't breathe for themselves any more.
"The hospital should have been checking staff to stop this. It is running rife and it shouldn't have happened. His cancer doctors are devastated and have said this shouldn't have happened.
"We sheltered him. No one was allowed to go near him. He wasn't anywhere, he didn't get anywhere because we kept him in a bubble (since March).
"We were given an assurance he wouldn't get this."
A spokeswoman for the Southern trust said staff were "liaising closely with patients and relatives on the affected wards."