Adeline Fagan, 28, was doing a rotation two months ago treating coronavirus patients in the E.R when she developed an infection that ultimately ended her life, now among more than 200,000 lives lost in the United States to the pandemic. As her parents grieve, they remember a woman who spent her life dedicated to helping others.
Adeline knew she was going to be a doctor when she was 11, her father, Brant Fagan said. That was when she developed a terrible illness that put her in a wheelchair.
“She went to a doctor who talked to her like a real human being, like an adult practically, and from that Day 1, she said she wanted to be a doctor to help people like that doctor helped her,” he said. “That one visit changed her life.”
From there, Adeline worked as a certified nursing assistant before entering medical school, and she went on to Haiti four times on medical missions to serve people who lived too far outside a city to have easy health care access.
“She just loved to help people, she really did,” Brant said.
According to a GoFundMe page, Adeline began to feel under the weather last July by the end of a 12-hour shift. Within a week, her symptoms worsened, and she was admitted to the hospital.
Adeline’s mom, Mary Jane, said that they couldn’t be with her, even though she was “so incredibly frightened.” Fortunately, Adeline had taken her cell phone with her to the hospital. The family would keep her on the phone all day as they went about their lives, not necessarily talking all the time but reassuring her that they were connected to her.
Mary Jane added it’s not something every family of coronavirus patients gets to do, and unlike most families, Adeline’s parents got to see her in the days before she died.
As Mary Jane Fagan left the 15 or 20 minutes she was allowed with her daughter, Adeline collected the energy to give her mother a kiss — a gift her mom will hold onto forever. The next time her family saw her, Adeline was suffering a brain bleed, and they held her in her last moments of life.
“So many parents have not been able to, and it breaks my heart,” Mary Jane Fagan said.
The coronavirus is still taking from them, Adeline’s parents said. They are stuck with memories of not being able to go to their daughter when she was scared, knowing as a doctor what could lay ahead of her. And arranging a funeral for their child is even harder as they account for pandemic-related restrictions.
Adeline’s parents want people to remember to keep others safe by wearing a mask and social distancing, her father said.
“It may be your mailman, it may be your doctor, or your nurse or your neighbor,” he said. “You’re doing it for other people, not necessarily yourself.”