"I couldn’t tell him she was also in hospital"
An elderly couple died just three days apart after being treated for COVID-19.
Mohammed Riaz and his wife Karamat Begum, of Small Heath, Birmingham, were both taken to Heartlands Hospital.
However, Mrs Begum died on April 9, 2020, and her husband on April 12.
The elderly couple, who had been married for approximately 50 years, will be buried side-by-side on April 18.
Their son, Naseer Khan, revealed that he could not bring himself to tell his father that his mother was also being treated in the same hospital.
Mr Khan explained: “They were lovely, the best mum and dad you could ask for.
“My dad always showed me the good path of life. He taught me to respect your elders and to do things on my own.
“My mum was always there. If I was ever down, she would always ask me what was wrong, she was a comfort.
“They looked after my older brother, who is registered blind.
“They doted on their three young grandchildren and my dad took them everywhere.”
He said that Mr Riaz fell ill in late March.
Mr Khan said: “He had a fall and I called an ambulance. The paramedics said there was a slight chance he might have COVID-19 and to isolate him at home.”
Mr Riaz remained away from his wife but his condition deteriorated and he was admitted to Heartlands Hospital.
Mrs Begum was also taken to the hospital following a routine dialysis appointment at a Sparkhill centre. She was found to have a high temperature.
Mr Khan said: “I got a call from the doctor saying she wasn’t looking good.
“I went down and she couldn’t talk, she was sleeping.
“I Facetimed my family and showed her the phone and my cousin and brother, who was very close to her.
“She recognised them and was trying to talk but was tired. She then went downhill.”
On April 9, Mr Khan received a call from his father’s doctor telling him that he was also deteriorating and asking if he could go to his bedside.
He said: “My dad asked me how my mum was. I couldn’t tell him she was also in hospital but that she was waiting at home for him to come home.
“He kept saying he would get better.
“He said: ‘You are my lion and make sure you look after the family until I get back.’
“He said: ‘I will be OK’,
“It totally broke me. I started crying. When I was crying with him, I got a call from my mother’s ward telling me to get to the hospital – but I was already there.
“I went down to her ward and the doctor told me that she could go at any time.”
Mr Khan briefly left the hospital but as he returned, his phone rang.
Mr Khan said:
“They said ‘we are sorry.’ My mind went blank and I said: ‘My mum or my dad’?”
The same number rang him in the early hours of Easter Sunday, telling him that his dad had died.
Within a three-day period, his “whole life had collapsed”.
He said: “What’s keeping me going is my religion and my family. My cousin brother Hafiz Ullah Khan has been my backbone.
“I have had thousands of messages of support. From people I do not even know saying from people I don’t even know.”
Birmingham Mail reported that Mr Khan added:
“I want to thank the NHS for working hard to save lives. I want to say to people, look after your loved ones.
“To the youngsters, spend as much time as you can with your mum and dad. Look after them.
“Stay safe and stay at home.”