Carolann Gann worked as a nurse for 38 years — and when coronavirus took her life last week, it was the kind actions of a fellow nurse that allowed her daughter one final goodbye.
Michelle Bennett is expressing her gratitude toward one of her mother’s nurses, who allowed the grieving daughter to FaceTime into Gann’s hospital room on Thursday, as the contagious virus prevented her from saying goodbye in person.
“I know how difficult this is for them. I can’t imagine being on the front lines of that and having to go home every day and risk infection themselves, but then have the compassion and the empathy to be right there in that moment as if it was their own mother,” Bennett told CNN. “That was one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced.”
Gann, 75, who also had COPD and was in the early stages of congestive heart failure, called Bennett over a week ago to say she was getting tested.
When she told her the test was positive, “it was like the world was a little crashing down,” Bennett told CBS affiliate KIRO.
At the Swedish Issaquah Hospital in Washington, Bennett and her family were able to talk to Gann, and she “could hear us and respond and tell the kids how proud she was of them,” Bennett’s wife Brandi told the outlet.
But as the days progressed, Gann’s health took a turn for the worse.
“Not being able to be there and hold my mom’s hand, rub her head, tell her the things I wanted to say to her. It was such a helpless feeling, I can just remember the days leading up feeling so frustrated and helpless and not being able to talk to her because she was not conscious during that time,” Bennett told CNN.
When Gann’s nurse realized she likely wouldn’t live much longer, she called Bennett and arranged the FaceTime, telling her, “I’m going to put the phone up to her face so you can tell her you love her and say your goodbyes. She will not be alone, we will stay with her till the end.”
According to Bennett, she told her mother, “I love you very much. I forgive you, mom, I love you. I know I didn’t get a chance to say it. Mom, it’s OK to pass on. It’s OK to go now.”
Bennett told CNN the nurse cried as she took the phone away, and that Gann died within an hour of the call.
“She helped so many people as an RN on their way home, as they were dying,” Bennett told KIRO. “So to be on the other end of that and have RNs help her, it’s inspiring.”
Washington has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, with at least 5,179 confirmed cases and 223 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to The New York Times. There have been at least 173,741 confirmed cases and 3,433 deaths across the United States.
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