Covid: Mum's 'heartbreaking' death next to daughter in hospital

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image copyrightAnabel Sharma
image captionMaria Rico and her daughter Anabel Sharma were both admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary on the same day

A woman who watched her mother die next to her in hospital after they both caught Covid-19 has pleaded with people to follow precautions.

Maria Rico, 76, from Leicestershire, removed her oxygen mask to speak to her two daughters one final time - despite knowing this would hasten her death.

Anabel Sharma described the moment as "heartbreaking" but said she was glad her mother did not die alone.

She has released their final photograph to raise awareness of the virus.

'Comfort'

Mrs Sharma, from Whitwick, said her mother had died about half-an-hour after her mask was taken off.

"My mum asked them to take her mask off and they said, 'Once we take this off, that will be it. You won't have very long'.

"She said, 'Yes, I know that but I've had enough'," said Mrs Sharma, 49.

"We had about five minutes with her when she was able to speak, then she lost consciousness.

"She told us she wasn't afraid to die, that she was ready. She told me I had to fight hard because I had the children at home."

image copyrightAnabel Sharma
image captionMaria Rico lived with her daughter, son-in-law and three grandsons

Mrs Sharma's sister, Susana, was also allowed to be present while wearing personal protective equipment.

"We held her hand until her very last breath," she added.

"It brings me comfort to know that we were able to be with her and I know it brought my mum comfort as well."

Mrs Rico lived in the same house as Mrs Sharma and her husband and three sons, Noah, 10, Isaac, 12, and Jacob, 22.

Mrs Sharma said she believed one of her sons caught coronavirus at school and it then "ravaged through" the family at a "frightening" speed.

"I would ask people to follow all the precautions and think of others," she said.

image copyrightAnabel Sharma
image captionCoronavirus spread through the family and every member of the household tested positive

Mrs Sharma and her mother were admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary on the same day in October, and Mrs Rico died on 1 November.

Her funeral was live-streamed to Mrs Sharma, who was still in hospital.

image copyrightAnabel Sharma
image captionMaria Rico was an "amazing grandmother"

"She was very aware of what was going to happen and she knew she was not going to recover from it and she had had enough of the treatment," said Mrs Sharma, who continues to have oxygen treatment at home because her lungs were damaged by the virus.

She described her mother as an "amazing grandmother" who was "very, very strong-willed".

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