THIS is the heartbreaking moment a Covid-stricken mum, 76, asked for her mask to be removed in intensive care so she could tell her daughter she loved her for her final words.
Maria Rico was in a Covid ward at Leicester Royal Infirmary and spent her final hours with daughter Anabel Sharma, 49, from Leicestershire.
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Anabel shared a heartbreaking final photo holding hands with her mum, after Maria had signed a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) order and stated her funeral wishes.
Maria tragically died the day after the picture was taken.
Anabel's entire family was struck down with coronavirus after her son, 12, picked up the bug having returned to school in September.
Anabel appeared on Good Morning Britain today and told hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Ried about her heartache.
She said her mum had said everything you'd want to hear a parent say before she passed away.
Anabel revealed: “I was really fortunate. After that photograph was taken my mum had to be taken back to her bed because they'd removed her from her monitors to come and speak to me.
“Because I was so distressed I was sedated again.
When they took us to mum, she asked them to remove her mask and they said to her, ‘as soon as we do this you're not going to have very long.’
“It felt like only five minutes had passed and the consultant was there again by my bed.
“It had actually been a day and they told me my mum was dying and they were going to arrange for my bed to be taken to where my mum was.
“My sister was allowed to be on the ward in full PPE.
“When they took us to mum, she asked them to remove her mask and they said to her, ‘as soon as we do this you're not going to have very long.’
“She just nodded. We did have five minutes with her.”
Anabel continued: “She said everything you'd want your mother to say.
“She said she loved us, was proud of us and that I had to keep fighting to get home to my children.
“Equally we told her, held her hands, as she sort of fell unconscious. We held her hands until she passed away.”
Anabel said that when the photograph was taken, she had been told her mum only had around two days to live.
Anabel's whole family, including Maria, Anabel's husband Bharat, and their other sons Jacob, 22, and Noah, 10, all became ill after their son's school return in September.
Maria and Anabel were both taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary and were placed on oxygen in October.
Two weeks later, the gran Maria told her daughter that she had signed a Do Not Resuscitate order.
The next day, doctors wheeled Anabel to her mum’s bedside and Maria died on November 1.
Anabel left hospital a month later, but has badly-damaged lungs and needs oxygen to get around.
Now Anabel is warning others about the dangers of coronavirus and saying they could lose family members if they don’t stick to the rules.
Anabel added: “My message certainly would be that for me, I genuinely thought if I was to catch the virus it wouldn't affect me as much as it did.
“Even when the ambulances arrived to take us to hospital and I was wheeled up to intensive care, I remember asking the doctors if I was going to die.
She said she loved us, was proud of us and that I had to keep fighting to get home to my children.
“I genuinely expected them to say no…his answer was that he didn't know whether I was going to die or not. That for me was the moment I thought everything was over.”
She continued: “I'm not that old. I have very mild asthma. It's really important to do what you can.
“You can only control your own environment, but if we could do that safely, perhaps it would be a different picture today.
“I've been reading you were kickboxing six hours a week, doing more than most people in terms of exercise and fitness and yet here you are at the beginning of the New Year still receiving treatment.
“I have oxygen and at the moment it's unknown how long I'll need the oxygen for. Certainly the Covid has given me permanent lung damage.
“It's killed a part of my left lung and the base of my left and right lung and whether I'll actually be able to get back to the level of fitness I had before Covid is unknown at the moment.
“They just don't have enough data on the long-term effects of Covid.”
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night imposed another lockdown to try and control the “alarming spread”.
Data from Public Health England shows that 93 per cent of local areas in England have seen a rise in cases in the past seven days.
These are the new lockdown rules explained as Brits must stay at home after mutant Covid strain surge.
It comes after Matt Hancock revealed more than one million Brits have now had the Covid vaccine while declaring the "end is in sight".
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