Family of coronavirus death victim issue warning after bug was mistaken

The family of a granddad who died of coronavirus have spoken out after his symptoms were confused with a chest infection.

Leonard Gibson, 78, died on Tuesday morning at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital in South Yorkshire.

Now his relatives say they regret not questioning whether he had the virus sooner.

The pensioner was diagnosed with coronavirus last week but was at first prescribed antibiotics for a chest infection.

His devastated daughters, Lisa Broughton, 50, and Michelle Lenton, 51, want the public to watch out for the symptoms and take action.

Leonard, lived in sheltered accommodation in Oughtibridge, near Sheffield, had been feeling unwell for a few days before he was eventually admitted to hospital last Saturday.


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The grandfather-of-four had the lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and so his problems were initially diagnosed in relation to that.

His daughter, NHS worker Lisa, from nearby Catcliffe, said she regrets not questioning the possibility that her dad had Covid-19 and urged other families to voice their concerns "before it is too late".

She told The Star: “Our dad had COPD so when he started with a cough and breathing difficulties it was diagnosed as a chest infection.

"They were common symptoms of his health condition, and that is where the problem lies.

When should you call NHS 111?

Those experiencing coronavirus symptoms, such as a cough or fever, should self-isolate for 14 days.

You should stay at home if you or or anyone in your household has a high temperature or a new and continuous cough – even if it's mild.

  • Everyone in your household must stay at home for 14 days and keep away from others
  • DO NOT go to your GP or hospital.
  • Go to NHS.UK to check your symptoms and follow the specialist medical advice.
  • Only call 111 if you can't get online, you feel like you can't cope at home, or your symptoms do not get better after the seven days.
  • If you are pregnant you should call 111 if you have any concerns about yourself or unborn baby during self-isolation.
  • Pregnant women are advised to contact their midwife, out-of-hours helplines or a maternity team who will provide information on whether you need to go to hospital.

“These coronavirus symptoms are going hidden because people are not suggesting it as they don’t think it will happen to them – but it can and it will unless more people start to demand to be tested.

“Don’t think you are being over-dramatic by suggesting it as a possibility because ignoring it can prove fatal.

“If anyone has elderly or ill relatives please take any advice you get seriously and take care of each other.

"Notice the symptoms and take action. Nobody knows how this is going to end, but it is here now and it is claiming lives.

“I think everyone is waiting for official Government advice to tell us what to do and people are frightened of staying at home for fear of losing their jobs but health has to come first and we all need to do everything we can to keep each other safe.”

Leonard, who had 12 siblings, was born in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and came to South Yorkshire to work when he was 26.

He spent a number of years at Orgreave coking plant and brought up his family in Woodhouse, Sheffield.

Lisa said he was "kind, loving, generous, crazy and fun loving".

She said he would be remembered by his friends and all those at his sheltered housing complex as "a jolly Irish man who made everyone smile".

Teaching assistant Michelle said: “We are heartbroken and pray no one has to endure what we have over the last few days.

“We have no way of knowing how or when he contracted it.”

The family is self-isolating as a precaution.

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