A 47-year-old man, who was the last patient to leave Blackpool Victoria Hospital's intensive care unit in the UK after being treated for the novel Coronavirus infection in July, has died of 'long COVID'.
The father-of-one Roehl Ribaya spent 60 days in the ICU. But he never recovered from the long-term effects of the deadly disease—which cannot be a "blessing from God". Stella Ricio-Ribaya, the nurse wife of the deceased, performed CPR on him after noticing that he was having a cardiac arrest. She said, "he was taken too soon."
Ribaya who was a Filipino aerospace engineer applauded the hospital staff after spending 60 days in the ICU. Unaware of the fact that he will never be able to overcome the COVID-19 effects, while leaving the hospital on August 14, Ribaya told the staff members they saved his life and he cannot thank them enough.
'Long COVID' Killed Roehl Ribaya
The family of Ribaya said that the Coronavirus infection had taken a heavy toll on him even after his discharge from the hospital. On October 13, the Filipino man had a cardiac arrest. After that attack, he was in a coma until he died two days later.
The widow of Ribaya who lives in St Annes in Lancashire told BBC that her husband was never the same after contracting the virus and had been facing breathing issues. She asked people to follow the government's advice to stop the spread of the virus and said "we don't want anymore to die."
Ribaya's Close friend Mark Delabajan said his cause of death was cardiac arrest with the secondary cause given as post-Covid pulmonary fibrosis. "It was a long Covid. His breathing was never the same and he couldn't get up the stairs. He was rushed back into hospital a number of times," said Delabajan.
However, Kevin McGee, chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We were extremely saddened to hear about the death of Roehl and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."
At least one in 10 people suffer from the long-term symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, and some also reported facing several health issues even six months after they first contracted the virus. The long-term suffering after COVID-19 is dubbed as "long COVID"—as previously infected people continue to struggle with extreme fatigue, breathlessness, and problems with concentration, as well as memory for months.
Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, said that nearly 600,000 people in the UK have some sort of post-COVID-19 illness and about 12 percent of people report symptoms to the Coronavirus tracking app for longer than 30 days, while one in 200 says that the effects last for over 90 days.
Members of Long COVID SOS and other support groups want the government to formally recognize the long-term impact of this disease. They are also seeking financial support for people unable to work because of long-COVID and the establishment of multidisciplinary clinics to help treat patients like Ribaya.