The widow of a South Florida man who died from complications due to COVID-19 believes more could have been done early on to prevent her husband's death.
Christopher Roy McConnell died after battling COVID-19 for more than a month, his widow Stephanie Jimenez said.
Jimenez, who is pregnant with McConnell's third son, said her 41-year-old husband was sent home from the emergency room three times. When symptoms became severe and returned, it took doctors about three days to check on him.
“I don’t want to talk bad about the hospitals because they are at the mercy of the protocols that are being set from up above,” Jimenez said. “I think the staff are doing the best that they can, but I do think there needs to be some sort of campaign for early intervention.”
Jimenez said she wants to leave the vaccine controversy out of this. The nation's top health experts have continuously stressed that vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent severe COVID-19 infection and reduce strain on overwhelmed hospital systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have also encouraged the public to wear face masks and practice social distancing as ways to stop the spread of the virus.
Jimenez feels the public needs more knowledge about what to do when symptoms arise.
“We need to become educated about what to do if you feel sick. Unfortunately, the protocols that the hospitals have in place, that the government has in place, everything is go home and shelter for 14 days, it’s not these are the things you can do if you think you feel sick, there are alternative options,” Jimenez said.
Health officials recommend quarantining for 14 days as another way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to healthy populations. Some patients with COVID-19 are also eligible for monoclonal antibody therapy, a treatment that may reduce severity of symptoms.
Jimenez had stopped working to support her husband in his interior design career. She does have a passion project which she hopes to re-start, an Instagram account inspiring testimonies that help people find comfort.
She knows the road ahead won’t be easy after the loss of her husband, but she is pulling through.
“I’m broken, but I have three kids to live for,” she said.
The family had recently moved from Miami to Sarasota so that McConnell could launch his interior design business. Jimenez is five months pregnant with their third son.
“I have this indescribable strength right now that, I guess, God and the universe or my husband blessed me with,” Jimenez said. “With this third pregnancy that is letting me plow through this.”
McConnell was honored with a mass at St. Raymond Catholic Church Thursday.
“My husband was an artist, but above all he was selfless,” Jimenez said.