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Covid: Parents' warning after daughter, 25, dies

By Nelli Bird
BBC News

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media captionCovid: Parents who lost daughter warn 'this is real'

Covid-19 put a whole family in hospital over Christmas - but it was their 25-year-old daughter who didn't survive.

On Christmas Day, the Jones family from Llwynypia in the Rhondda all felt so unwell, they didn't even bother opening their presents.

Paul, Karen and Lauren Jones had all tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in December and it had hit them hard - with Paul and Karen spending short spells in hospital.

But not long after Christmas their "living nightmare" continued, when Lauren told her parents she wanted to go to the local hospital "just to get checked out".

"I watched her walk from the car to the hospital. I thought she would have been out later that day," said Paul, who works as a police officer.

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But Lauren did not speak to her parents until the next day and by then she was receiving treatment to help her breathing.

"I spoke to Lauren at about half three in the afternoon," said Karen.

"She said she'd just had a little bit of ice cream and some water and was going back on the C-PAP machine. She said not to worry. That was the last contact we ever had with her. "

image copyrightFamily picture
image captionPaul Jones said staff at Royal Glamorgan Hospital were "absolutely distraught" when his daughter died

Lauren was well known and loved in her local community - she worked as an administrator at a GP surgery in Tonypandy and delivered Avon and Bodyshop products in her village. She also loved animals, travelling and music.

Her health, though, declined rapidly. Within 24 hours, her parents were told she wasn't expected to survive the next night.

They went to be with her at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant during her last moments in the early hours of 30 December.

'Youngest patient'

"We were both with her when she came into the world and we were both with her when she left the world," said Karen.

"The ITU staff were marvellous. The one last image I remember is, as Lauren left us, all the staff were protecting her around the bed. They were absolutely distraught as well."

Paul added: "They said Lauren was the youngest patient they'd had in the Royal Glam. Not a statistic you want your daughter to be."

image copyrightFamily picture
image captionLauren's mother Karen said the last time she saw her daughter, she told her "not to worry"

The family are now struggling to understand how she deteriorated so quickly.

Lauren had suffered from a condition called complex regional pain syndrome in her foot, which meant she used crutches. She also had high blood pressure - but her parents say it was nothing that meant she would have been more at risk.

They also wonder if things could have been different - Lauren and her mother Karen, who also works for the NHS, were just days away from having their Covid vaccinations when they had to start self-isolating.

Those presents left unopened on Christmas Day remained there until recently and Paul and Karen say opening what Lauren had left for them was one of the hardest things.

"We are finding it easier to stay in the house," said Karen.

"In the first 48 hours, we were trying to run away from the house and the memories. I woke up in the early hours of this morning just crying and apparently I was shouting her name out in my sleep. Moments catch up with you."

image copyrightFamily photo
image captionLauren and her family enjoyed going on holiday together and she had been a keen golf player

Lauren's funeral will be held later this month and the family is planning a special event in her memory, when the pandemic is over.

For now though, they want their story to be a warning.

"This is real," added Karen. "We stuck to the rules and it still got us. It's out there and it could come for you."

"Our grandparents lived through the war. If they can listen and do what they had to do during the war, we can sit in our house and watch a boxset and have a drink in the house and behave ourselves.

"We don't want anyone to go through what we are going through now."

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