Navy veteran died alone from coronavirus as family was quarantinedMarch 25, 2020
A 66-year-old Navy veteran from Milwaukee died “alone” of the coronavirus — as his quarantined family was unable to see him, according to new reports.
Lawrence Riley — who served during the Vietnam War and was a retired firefighter who survived two strokes — appeared able to beat anything, his family told ABC News.
But he died Thursday, two days after he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“The way he handled pain, he was a tough guy,” his son, Elvaughn Riley, 28, told the outlet. “For this to take him out, it was a shock.”
Lawrence was feeling tired and drained over the weekend, and by Monday, he was bedridden, his son said.
By Tuesday, his family rushed him to the hospital, where he was placed in a medically induced coma and tested positive for COVID-19, according to the report.
His family did not have the opportunity to see him those last two days — as his wife and youngest son and daughter were required to quarantine inside their home, the outlet reported.
Elvaughn, who lives elsewhere, said he hasn’t been able to see the rest of his family and leaves food and supplies at their front door.
“Family can’t be there,” he told WISN-TV. “We can’t be there to hold their hands. We can’t be there to say things to him. That’s very lonely thinking my dad had to go through that.”
“I couldn’t even say nothing to my dad, you know, tell him I love him before he passed,” he added. “Now I have to live with that, so now I have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
Elvaughn told ABC that he was inspired by his father to join the Navy himself.
Whitney Riley, 20, Lawrence’s only daughter, described her father as the “sweetest man I’ve ever known.” She is grieving the fact that her father won’t be able to see her graduate from Prairie View A&M University next year.
She said she hopes others will take the COVID-19 outbreak more seriously after hearing her dad’s story.
“We need to do everything we can to protect one another,” she told ABC. “Just because someone the same age as me might not feel the symptoms doesn’t mean you can’t pass it along. It took my father just like that. I never thought in a million years my dad would be gone in five days.”
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