HIV false positives terminate Aussie vaccine

Dad dies days after scratchy throat

A father who served 12 years on the frontline had no idea he was about to face his most deadliest battle yet.

Army combat veteran Jeffery Michael Keene served four tours in the Middle East before settling in Kentucky, US, with his wife Nicole where he went on to become a service specialist at a local car dealership.

The pair, who have a little girl, Adalyn, were expecting their second child, a boy, in December, when a tragic set of circumstances would claim Mr Keene's life.

The 39-year-old loving father had complained to his wife about an itchy throat just days before baby Michael was born.

Jeffery Michael Keene served four tours in the Middle East. Picture: Nicole Keene
Jeffery Michael Keene served four tours in the Middle East. Picture: Nicole Keene

He had contracted coronavirus and while he was in a stable condition, his health worsened and he suddenly lost his life to the deadly virus.

What he didn't know was that his little boy Michael was in the same hospital as him fighting for his life, after he was born prematurely.

Doctor refused to tell Mr Keene his son was in the building due to his high stress levels and deteriorating condition.

The couple got tested at the first available appointments for coronavirus two days after Mr Keene began to present with symptoms in October.

The results came back within the hour to reveal a pregnant Nicole was negative, while her husband tested positive.

Nicole, who is a respiratory therapist, guided her husband through daily breathing exercises at home, but when his conditioned worsened, they decided to seek further medical attention.

"He got sick pretty quick. It was his fever that concerned me the most, with how high his fever was. It was 104.5," Nicole told CNN.

Jeffrey, pictured wit his wife Nicole and daughter, Adalyn, died from coronavirus. Picture: GoFundMe
Jeffrey, pictured wit his wife Nicole and daughter, Adalyn, died from coronavirus. Picture: GoFundMe

The moment he was admitted to University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, doctors started him on oxygen before moving him to ICU.

"I got a call the next morning, saying that they wanted to intubate him already. And I just, I was terrified. And just knew that [when] you get on the ventilator and it's really hard to get off with COVID," Nicole told the publication.

"They put him on the BiPAP [machine], his anxiety was very high, very high. I mean he has PTSD. And he just really struggled."

Mr Keene's breathing tube was then removed but the same day, on October 26, Nicole would find herself in hospital after struggling to feel the baby move.

Doctors made the swift decision to operate on her - and moments later their little boy Michael Wesson was born.

He was born unresponsive, but after 15 minutes of resuscitation he came to life, according to the publication.

He died not knowing his son was born prematurely and was in the same hospital also fighting for his life. Picture: Nicole Keene
He died not knowing his son was born prematurely and was in the same hospital also fighting for his life. Picture: Nicole Keene


However, as he needed specialised care, baby Michael would find himself transferred to the same hospital as his father, where both would be fighting for their lives.

"[Doctors] had advised me to not tell my husband, because he was very on the edge of being re-intubated because his anxiety was really high. He was still struggling to breathe," Nicole explained.

Despite being told he was in a stable condition and could go home soon, Mr Keene took a turn for the worse.

Nicole said she rushed to be by her husband's side as he took his last breathe.

"I just felt everything, all of our dreams, everything just like came out of me. I could just see our whole life just slipping away."

More than $A113,000 has been raised to support Nicole and her two children, Adalyn and baby Michael who has a brain injury. Picture: Nicole Keene
More than $A113,000 has been raised to support Nicole and her two children, Adalyn and baby Michael who has a brain injury. Picture: Nicole Keene

A GoFundMe page has been set-up to support Nicole and her two young children financially, with more than $A113,000 already raised.

Nicole told CNN she is unsure when she can return to work as a respiratory therapist given the medical needs of Wesson.

After spending five weeks in an intensive care unit, he is home with an oxygen tank, however, doctors told the mum that he has a brain injury, but only time will tell the extent of the injury.

"There's a lot of guilt, like just living every day," Nicole told CNN. "Even that I'm here and he's not and the kids … just without their dad, growing up without him. He was an amazing man, amazing father."

Originally published as Dad dies days after scratchy throat


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