Roehl Ribaya was the last patient with covid-19 to leave the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, in Blackpool, England, in July, to the applause of healthcare professionals. He spent 60 days in that unit, 48 of which connected to a ventilator, but “never recovered” from the long-term effects of the disease and ended up dying following a heart attack at age 47.
The Philippine aerospace engineer suffered a heart attack last week, on October 13, and was in a coma until he died two days later.
Roehl’s widow, nurse Stella Ricio-Ribaya, did cardiopulmonary resuscitation when he suffered the attack, but it was not enough to save him. “He was taken very early,” the woman told the BBC, revealing that the virus had done a lot of damage to her husband, even after he was discharged from hospital on 14 August.
Stella says Roehl “has never been the same” since he became ill. “He was always out of breath,” recalled the widow, leaving an appeal: “Follow the government’s advice so we can stop this virus. We don’t want more people to die.”
A close friend of Roehl’s, Mark Delabajan, said the family was “devastated”. Mark revealed that the main cause of his friend’s death was heart attack and that the secondary cause was post-covid pulmonary fibrosis. “It was the effect of the covid. His breathing was never the same and he was unable to climb the stairs. He had to return to the hospital several times,” explained Mark.
Roehl Ribaya was admitted to the Blackpool hospital on May 29 and spent 48 days in intensive care connected to a ventilator. In July, when he left the ICU, the doctor in charge, Jason Cupitt, said that moment meant that the hospital “had survived the first wave of this silent killer”.
Kevin McGee, executive director of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely sad to hear about Roehl’s death and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.”
Friend Mark said that Roehl was “the life and soul of the party … very funny and always playing”. “The Blackpool Victoria hospital team liked him very much,” he added.
Mark’s wife Angela created a fundraising page on “Go Fund Me” to save money for the Ribaya family.
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