SARASOTA, Fla. - A cruise aboard the Costa Luminosa turned into the worst-case scenario for Tom Sheehan, his wife, and their two friends.
"My father had said if the [cruise line] had remotely insinuated that it was the coronavirus that they would have gotten off the ship at Puerto Rico and flown home," said Tom's son, Kevin Sheehan, who lives in Sarasota.
Their journey started on March 5. Only a few days in, a passenger suspected to have COVID-19 was taken off the ship.
Kevin said passengers were not told about the passenger or the possibility the novel coronavirus was spreading amongst the passengers.
They realized something was wrong as ports began turning their ship away. When they docked 14 days later in France, Tom, who also suffered from COPD, knew he didn't feel right.
"He was scared and he said he thought he was getting bronchitis. He just wanted to get home," said Kevin.
The day after Tom, his wife, and their friends got home, they ended up at Sarasota Memorial Hospital's ER. Three of them tested positive for COVID-19.
"My father stayed in and, within 24 hours of being in the hospital, he was put on a ventilator," said Kevin.
Tom, who was 68, spent seven days fighting for his life.
"One of the drugs had one side effect, then they were trying another one. It was either too late or they weren't working for his scenario," his son said.
Each day, Kevin wrote what his father was going through on social media.
"His body just gave out. His lungs were failing with all the meds and things to try and keep his blood oxygen content high, his kidneys were failing, everything was failing," said Kevin.
Kevin Sheehan posted on social media about his father's ordeal
Saturday night at 8:51 p.m, Tom lost his battle with COVID-19. His family never got to say goodbye in person, only through a phone call.
"It's a very lonely virus because your loved ones are taken away. [Patients are] in the hospital suffering alone," said Kevin.
Tom leaves behind 11 grandkids and a family who misses his larger-than-life personality.
"People have to think outside of themselves, they have to consider the others around them," said Kevin.
Tom Sheehan and his wife
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