Daughter’s plea to take Covid seriously after losing both parents in nine days

A woman who lost both her parents to Covid-19 in the space of nine days has pleaded with the public to take the virus seriously.

Susan and John Docherty, who were married for 44 years and had five children, were “super cautious” but still contracted coronavirus, said Katie Tong, as she urged people to help protect one another from the disease.

Mrs Docherty, 62, and her husband John, a 65-year-old retired taxi driver, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, died after being taken to separate hospitals in November last year.

Now their daughter, 32-year-old Mrs Tong, who is also from Shrewsbury, has spoken of the “devastating” loss in hopes people will stick to the measures put in place to protect people from the deadly virus.

She said: “They both had underlying health issues, but they both had a good quality of life.

“My mum suffered badly from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and my dad had asthma.

“They were both super cautious and followed all the measures to keep them safe.

NHS maternity inquiry
NHS maternity inquiry

“I genuinely thought they had a common cold.

“Initially they didn’t have any of the three main Covid-symptoms.

“They were sneezing a lot – I never once thought it could be Covid-19 because we were all so careful.

“They gradually got worse.

“First it was my mum, she developed other symptoms, including vomiting.

“She had to be taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and tested positive for Covid-19.

“My dad was in a terrible state.

“I just remember going upstairs to visit him and he was purple in the face.

“He was struggling with his breathing and he was sent pretty much straight to the ICU (intensive care unit) at the Princess Royal Hospital (Telford).

“My mum was a real fighter, and she showed signs that her conditions were improving.

“That gave us all hope, but shortly after she started to deteriorate again.

“I received a phone call from the hospital saying my mum had taken a turn for the worst and she might not make past the next couple of hours.

“It’s the phone call you never want to hear as a daughter.

“She said she loved us before she passed away.”

Mrs Tong was allowed into hospital to be with her mother during the last hours of her life.

But as she grieved and tried to organise her mother’s funeral, she was told the news about her father.

Mrs Tong said: “We were able see him via video call before he passed.

“I played him his favourite family video. He couldn’t speak and it broke my heart – but I like to think that video brought him some comfort in those last few moments before he passed.

“I am heartbroken because he died without his family and loved ones around him.”

Urging people to take the virus seriously, she said: “I have lost two people I loved dearly due to Covid. Covid killed them.

“I have my own health issues and I relied heavily on my mum and dad.

“They always kept an eye me when my husband was at work, but now they’re gone.

“My mum was such a compassionate and charitable person.

“She always set a good example and that’s something I still aspire to.

“She would always be knitting stuff for charity.

“I miss my Dad’s humour.

“It’s not just the lack of the physical presence, it’s being not able to pick up the phone and have a chat with them.

“If I was feeling low, I would always call them. Now I can’t see them unless I go to the cemetery.

“Please take this seriously. I’ve lost my mum and dad, but this could happen to anyone.

“Please be extra careful – it can strike at any time and turn your life upside down.”