Remembering a young American life lost to Coronavirus

Remembering a young American life lost to Coronavirus

Doreen Jackson was born a premature baby at 28 weeks, barely the size of an eggplant, as her mother brought her to this world despite doctors warning her of associated complications. But Doreen was determined to make her mark on the world, recalls her mother, Mrs Kandice Jackson, as she wipes the tears welling in her eyes.

Mrs Kandice Jackson was all of 15 years, when she delivered Doreen all by herself, traveling by taxi from her home in the suburbs on Baltimore home to the Johns Hopkins Medical Center’s neonatal unit.

Doreen Jackson, unfortunately left us for our heavenly abode at the young blossoming age of 15 on May 16 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. She was recorded to be the youngest victim to die of COVID19 in their region. 

“I wanted to take my baby home so bad,” Mrs Jackson manages to mumble while desperately holding back the tears that keep flowing out of her eyes uncontrollably. 

Kandice,who was an unwed teen mother when she brought Doreen to this world was convinced that the birth of her daughter was a sign from the heavens above that things were about to change in her life. Fifteen years later, she is struggling to come to terms with the death of her daughter. 

Doreen who was all of 15 loved music and dancing and had dreams of becoming a dermatologist when she breathed her last on May 16 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The entire region mourned the death of the youngest person in Maryland to succumb to COVID19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Doreen was one of the youngest Americans to fall victim to the disease. 

It all started when Doreen started exhibiting symptoms of acute stomach ache, about a week before she passed away. She could not sense any taste in her food and her appetite had completely died. She had also developed a inflammatory skin rash near her armpit. Kandice, her mother also said that she noticed that her daughter was wearing a patent-leather jacket within her hospital clothes. On being asked why she was wearing it, she said confided in her mother that she was feeling cold. "It was a strange realization" Mrs Jackson recalled as it was the peak of summers. So she realized a fever had begun engulfing her daughter.

Mrs Jackson took Doreen to get her tested for COVID19 which came back negative, She was referred to John Hopkins for better medical facilities and treatment. At the John Hopkins Treatment Center, Doreen spent five days shuttling from a regular room to the COVID19 floor back to a regular room and finally in isolation as doctors and medical staff struggled to pin point the actual cause of her illness.

Doreen’s condition worsened thereafter, with her breathing starting to become heavy. Soon after she was admitted to intensive care unit and put on a ventilator. However much to the horror of everyone present she flatlined, and her core vitals stopped responding. But hospital staff attending to her and healthcare workers were able to revive her and bring her back. Sadly her revival was not for much long as she passed away, a few hours later lying beside her mom on her bed.

No parent expects to bury their child, Mrs Jackson shares with us, her voice stifling. 

Doreen had a large heart, her mom fondly remembers, in between sobs. "She would see only good in the worst of people and situations" she reveals, adding that she is happy her daughter is in a better place with God Almighty as the world was not a fit place for her. But Mrs Jackson's troubles are far from over. Even as the embers of her daughter's painful demise is yet to be cooled down in her heart, Doreen’s 5-year-old younger sister keeps pleading with to take her to her big sister or bring her back home. But Kandice doesn’t know what to tell her.

Speaking through tears, Mrs Jackson reveals how shattered she is as, she and her daughter almost grew up together. As she sums up our meeting, she has one last message for all Americans. She earnestly requests all Americans to abide by preventive measures such as wearing face masks in public as no one should have to go through the same heart wrenching experience as she did and bury their child. "I lost a friend, not a daughter", Kandice Jackson signs off as she retires back into her privacy.

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