‘If I don’t make it, I love you all’: Mom of newborn’s last words before dying of Covid-19

Anishca Morris died weeks after being admitted with Covid-19 at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.
Picture: Supplied

She will never share a mother and daughter bond. She will never get see her child smile, cry, or hear the words “mommy”. The closest Anishca Morris came to her newborn daughter Azariah was through pictures on her cellphone.

Before she closed her eyes forever, Anishca called her mother and said: “Mommy, if I don’t make it out of here, just remember I love you all.”

Anishca died weeks after being admitted with Covid-19 at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. She had just given birth to her first daughter — her second child — via emergency C-section. But because of her diagnosis, she was never able to have direct contact with her child.

Her son, Azaiah, 4, finds comfort in knowing his mother is with Jesus, Anishca’s mother, Deidre Morris, told TimesLIVE on Tuesday.

“He woke up crying this morning [Tuesday] and his father asked him what is wrong so he said that his mother was with him.”

Morris said the little boy said: “I saw mommy”.

An emotional Morris said: “I had to accept that my child will never come home again.”

Anishca worked at a Woolworths branch in Fish Hoek in the Western Cape.

Morris told TimesLIVE that Anishca started feeling ill on December 9.

“I told her that she must let me know how she feels later. Later that afternoon she told me that Felicia [her cousin] was going to pick her up.”

Morris said that they took Anishca to False Bay Hospital in Fish Hoek where she was told that she had flu. A Covid-19 test was also done. Morris said she was given medicine and sent home.

On December 10, her results returned positive.

“I told her it’s fine and that she must isolate. She didn’t stay with me but with her boyfriend.”

Later that day Anishca developed a fever, but told Morris that she would take a Med-lemon and rest.

“The Saturday morning [December 12] her boyfriend’s mother called me and told me that Anishca was very weak. When we went to pick her up, she couldn’t even make her way down the stairs, she couldn’t walk to the car.

“On our way to hospital she was struggling to breath but I kept her talking.”

The community held a memorial service at the family home last week Thursday.
The community held a memorial service at the family home last week Thursday. Picture: Supplied

Morris said on their arrival at False Bay Hospital, her 24-year-old daughter was placed on oxygen.

She was discharged, but later her health started deteriorating and she returned.

“The hospital told me that she would be kept overnight and that she could go on the Sunday, but unfortunately my child never made it home.”

Anishca was transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital after her baby was not getting enough oxygen, Morris said. She underwent an emergency C-section.

“She was in the Covid-19 maternity ward for a week and was later transferred to the normal Covid-19 ward. When she got to the Covid-19 ward she told me that she got bad news and that she had Covid-19 pneumonia.”

Anishca’s baby was discharged while she remained behind.

On Christmas Day a heartbroken Anishca called her mother in despair.

“She screamed over the phone and cried a lot and said she has never even seen her child, she has never touched her child and misses her child. I had to calm her down. She shouted, ‘Mommy, mommy, I want my child. Mommy, I love you and I want to hold my child’,” an emotional Morris said.

Morris said she send Anishca pictures and videos of her daughter daily.

Anishca’s health started deteriorating dramatically and the last time Morris heard her voice was on January 4. She ended up in ICU for a week.

Anishca and her mother Deidre Morris.
Anishca and her mother Deidre Morris. Picture: Supplied

On January 11, Morris said Anishca was moved from the Covid-19 ward to a general ward.

“The hospital called me and said that I could go and see her. When I saw her, she didn’t look like my child. She was swollen. The Wednesday [January 14] the doctor called me and said I shouldn’t lose hope, but he didn’t think that she would make it through the night.”

Just after midnight on Thursday, the doctor called and said Anishca didn’t make it, Morris said.

“I am lost for words, I don’t know if I should cry or scream. I feel that my child is not dead; it feels like she is still at hospital. For me she is not dead.”

Morris said the department of social development placed the baby in her care.

“She is the splitting image of Anishca and she will have her green eye as well. It is a blessing because she doesn’t allow me to mourn.”

Morris said Anishca would be cremated next week.

The Western Cape health department’s Shimoney Regter said that they were aware of the incident, and that it had been investigated.

“The patient was admitted to the respiratory casualty at False Bay Hospital on the morning of December 12, and she received medical care. She received treatment according to a clinician’s assessment and showed improvement. She presented with shortness of breath later the same day, was assessed and stabilised by the attending clinician and referred to Groote Schuur Hospital.

“At Groote Schuur Hospital, a Caesarean section was done. Unfortunately, two weeks after admission at Groote Schuur Hospital, her condition deteriorated, and she required ventilation,” said Regter.

She added that patients did not need a negative Covid-19 test to be discharged, as it was determined on whether their condition required hospital care.

“All patients who are discharged from hospital are advised when to return to hospital should their condition worsen. Covid-19 patients are also advised on their isolation period at home once discharged from hospital,” she said.

By Iavan Pijoos – TimesLIVE


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