Neonatal nurse practitioner Dottie Jones warned her cousin, Lydia Rodriguez, of the “brutal” death and complications that come from COVID-19. But Jones said her warnings didn’t make a difference; her cousin was adamantly against vaccinations.
Weeks later, Rodriguez and her husband died after testing positive for COVID-19. The couple left behind four children.
“She spent her whole life against vaccines, and then before she was intubated, she asked doctors for the vaccine, but it was too late,” Jones told USA TODAY.
Last month, Rodriguez, her husband and their kids attended a weeklong church camp. Each member of the family contracted COVID-19 afterward. While the kids remained asymptomatic, conditions for Rodriguez and her husband Lawrence Rodriguez worsened.
Jones said Rodriguez’s last plea was that her family made sure her kids received the COVID-19 vaccine
“She said, ‘I need my kids to get vaccinated. Please make sure,'” Jones said. “It was too late to save her life, but she wanted them to be safe.”
Lydia Rodriguez, 42, died Monday, two weeks after her husband also died following COVID-19 related complications. Lawrence Rodriguez was 49.
Although Jones said she told Lydia and Lawrence about the hundreds of COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Sugar Land, Texas, it didn’t make a difference. The Texas couple practiced social distancing and wore masks in public, but they also remained fearful of vaccines.
“She was never outspoken or pushed her anti-vaccine views on people, she was just scared of them. She was scared until she was dying and realized her family needs them,” Jones said.
On July 12, Lawrence drove Lydia Rodriguez to the hospital after she experienced issues breathing. Rodriguez was immediately admitted into the ICU. Jones said Lawrence Rodriguez was admitted to the ICU days later and died on Aug. 2. Lawrence also asked to be given the COVID-19 vaccine, which doctors declined to do at his already declining state.
Jones said the Rodriguez children were made aware of their mother’s wishes and the two 18-year-olds will be allowed to make their own decision. She is nervous that after years of hearing horror stories about the vaccine, the two oldest children won’t get vaccinated.
However, the 16-year-old child has already made a vaccine appointment and the youngest who is 11 will get vaccinated once she’s eligible, Jones said.
As Jones now works with other families to support the Rodriguez children, she’s created a GoFundMe fundraiser. Her biggest concern lies with the healing and support the four children now need. But Jones hopes the Rodriguez’s story will prevent other “unnecessary” deaths and family tragedies.
Jones urged all Americans who are eligible to get vaccinated while they have the option.
“I can’t excuse their choice. I look at the four kids who are now orphans and I get really angry. But I loved her. When you love somebody, you love all of them, even some mistakes,” Jones said. “But I hope everyone reading follows Lydia’s last wish and words. Get vaccinated.”
This article was originally published on Website: www.usatoday.com
Author is: Gabriela Miranda
Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda