A FAMILY have been left heartbroken after a mum and son both died from Covid-19 within just hours of each other.
Mark Wakefield, 53, and his mum Dorothy Wakefield, 79, lost their fight against the killer virus on Saturday.
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The pair, who lived next door to each other in Stoke, Staffordshire, had been rushed to the Royal Stoke University Hospital last month where a test confirmed both had Covid-19.
At one point Dorothy appeared to be well enough to be discharged only for her to be then struck down with pneumonia.
The former pottery worker passed away at 4am, while dad-of-one Mark – who had been in an induced coma for a week – died shortly before 11am.
Emily Murrell – the granddaughter of Dorothy and niece of Mark – is calling on people to take the pandemic seriously after it left her family in pieces.
The 25-year-old said: "A lot of people think Covid's not real or that it just takes it out of you and then you get better.
"When my nan and uncle went to hospital they didn't think they would never be coming home again.
"Granted, a lot of people do get over it but that's not always the case. It's so, so dangerous.
"Mark was following all the social distancing guidelines, he was taking precautions.
"Friends of my uncle have said they were sceptical about covid until he died. It's been a real eye-opener."
The family's nightmare started last month when Mark – who was a full-time carer for Dorothy – suddenly lost his sense of taste and smell.
Emily added: "I was at work and mum rang to say Mark had these symptoms. He'd got a home test kit but he'd done it wrong and needed another one.
"He was coughing that badly and he was struggling for breath so he rang the ambulance.
"Nan wasn't too bad at this stage but the paramedics ended up taking her to hospital too. They both had tests which confirmed they had it.
"Mark wasn't doing very well and he needed to be put on oxygen and in a matter of days he ended up on critical care. He couldn't breathe by himself and his oxygen levels kept dropping. He had to be drip fed.
"He was trying to stay in good spirits, and told us he was going to fight it. He kept saying he couldn't wait to come home and have a curry. We tried to keep it lighthearted."
Emily said Mark eventually needed to use an airway pressure machine to keep him alive.
She said: "He was saying that it was really hurting. The Covid was putting so much stress on his body.
"There just wasn't any improvement so they decided to put him in a coma. I was with my mum as we're in a bubble and we just sat there and cried.
"Nan was on a different ward and didn't know how bad Mark was because we didn't want to make it any worse for her. She was asking if she could record a message for him.
"It was just horrible, it didn't seem real.
"We're only a small family and we just kept thinking 'we can't lose them both'."
Emily said she was unable to travel to the hospital to say her final goodbye to her nan as she couldn't afford to take time off work.
She said: "Mum rang me at 5am to say nan had gone. She just couldn't fight anymore. She just decided that she was going.
"I offered to go and be with mum but she just wanted to get some sleep. Then at 11am we got the news about Mark.
"He'd been in a coma for a week and the treatment just wasn't working.
"We can't believe they both went in the space of a few hours. Our only comfort is that they both went together so will never be apart."
FAMILY LEFT BEHIND
The pair also leave behind Dorothy's daughter and Mark's sister, Amanda Murrell, aged 54, and Mark's 15-year-old daughter Lily Sheldon.
Paying tribute to her loved-ones, Emily added: "My uncle was always out and about. He was really sociable and had so many friends.
"He was so bubbly, all he wanted to do was make people laugh. He was a massive personality.
"He loved his food and was a big lad but had no underlying health problems. It just shows you covid can happen to anyone.
"My nan suffered from water infections but was otherwise healthy for her age.
"She was just so sweet, she had time for everyone. She was just a lovely lady. She always had a smile on her face and would do anything for anybody."
A GoFundMe page has now been set up to support the family with £4,000 donated in three days.
Last Wednesday, a grieving widow paid tribute to three family members who died from coronavirus in the Rhondda, South Wales, within a week.
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