A man in Florida died of COVID-19 this month just 20 minutes before his first grandchild was born.
Shane O’Neal, 40, died of COVID-19 at about 3:30 on September 3rd. His daughter, Kylie Dean, gave birth to her son, Preston, at 6 p.m. 3:49 the same morning.
Dean, an ICU nurse, told USA TODAY that her father was “super excited” about the birth of his first grandchild.
“Every time he went to the store, he picked up some baby clothes or toys,” she said.
But her father, who was from the Jacksonville, Florida area, tested positive for COVID-19 last month and was hospitalized for his symptoms. Dean said her father had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, but he was scheduled to receive his vaccination the same week he tested positive for the virus.
O’Neal was still in the hospital when Dean, who also lives in the Jacksonville area, went to work this month.
She told the USA TODAY that her father’s doctor called her at about three in the morning she gave birth while she was surrounded by her husband and family and friends.
“He was like, ‘I’m really sorry to tell you right now, but despite all your efforts, your dad’s pretty much not going to make it,” she said.
“I broke down and literally cried. And my family and friends are standing by my window and just watching me literally break, ”she said. “It’s probably the best way to describe it. I felt devastated. ”
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Before her father’s death, Dean searched for an ECMO machine to help him recover from the virus, First Coast News reported. The machine supports the function of the heart and lungs.
Dean remembered his father as “super funny” and “an amazing father.”
“He did everything for me and my brother,” she said.
And Dean added that her newborn son already reminds her of her father.
“My father wanted to make the ‘I love you’ sign in sign language. And I have looked at Preston’s hands, just at random times, and he has it parted on his hands, like the ‘I love you sign’, ”she said. “I do not know if it is accidental, but it always brings me back to my father when I see it.”
Florida, like states across the country, documents tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases weekly as the delta variant continues to spread. The state reported 75,906 cases from Sept. 10 to Sept. 16, according to data from Florida health officials.
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This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Florida man dies of COVID minutes before his first grandchild is born