A 20-year-old from Spain who recently died after contracting the coronavirus was allegedly sent home and told not to worry by doctors less than a week before the disease killed him.
Francisco Garcia, a youth soccer coach at Malaga club Atletico Portada Alta, initially thought he had the common cold when he went he first became ill on March 6, his family told the Sun in a recent interview.
"He had a sore throat but he didn't have a temperature," Garcia's stepdad, Juan Fernandez, said. "He spent the weekend resting at home on the sofa and watching TV."
Three days later, when Garcia still wasn't recovering from the illness, Fernandez took him to a doctor who then allegedly told him to "take paracetamol [acetaminophen] and sent him home and said there was no need to worry."
When his health deteriorated again overnight, Garcia's family decided to take him to another doctor for a second opinion. That doctor sent him home again — this time with antibiotics.
"We didn't think anything was really wrong and nor did they then," Fernandez recalled. "But by the next day he couldn't stand up properly and he had a fever."
At that point, the family knew it was serious, and they quickly drove him to a local hospital where Garcia was admitted and "immediately and put him on a ventilator."
That was the last time Garcia's family saw him.
Once at the hospital, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and was placed under a quarantine due to suspicion that he had contracted the coronavirus. The following day, he tested positive for COVID-19 as well as leukemia. Four days later he died.
"It was so much to take in," Fernandez said, recalling that Garcia never complained about health problems. "We knew coronavirus was killing people — but we never thought it would kill Francis.
"He was taken to the cemetery without us being able to say goodbye to him," Fernandez added, speaking for Garcia's mother, Irene, who the Sun reported was too devastated to talk.
"We can't get our heads around what's happened," he continued. "A fortnight ago we were a normal family ... now I'm stuck indoors with my wife and my mother-in-law, grieving and worrying if we've all got coronavirus too."
According to the Independent, infectious disease experts said that had Garcia not been suffering from leukemia, he likely would have survived the disease. Garcia is one of the youngest victims of the novel respiratory disease, as most of the victims are elderly.
The coronavirus is ravaging Spain, now killing one person every 16 minutes in the country as confirmed cases surge by 25%. As of Thursday morning, there were more than 17,000 confirmed cases in the country, resulting 767 deaths.