This sister’s heartbreaking story of 28-year-old Dr. Adeline Fagan’s death from coronavirus made CNN anchor Kate Bolduan cry and it will probably make you cry, too. And may it ensure you wear a damn face mask.
September 23, 2020

To commemorate the 200,000 dead Americans from coronavirus, Kate Bolduan was joined by Maureen Fagan, sister of 28-year old COVID victim Maureen Fagan, to remind us just how much each death represents.

Maureen Fagan devastatingly made that point as she tearfully told the story of her sister’s death, just Saturday. Adeline Fagan had been in the second year of her residency and had been fighting COVID-19 since July. The family thought she was getting better until she took a sudden turn for the worse:

MAUREEN FAGAN: On Friday, we were told that Adeline had been disconnected from her ECMO machine and was on and off the ventilator, which were both great things, so we really thought in the near future that she was going to be going to rehab.

But that evening, I believe around 10:00 p.m., the staff came in for a routine check of Adeline and she was unresponsive. And an emergency CT showed that Adeline did have a massive brain bleed, which could have been caused by a number of things and it is one of the factors that physicians and staff were aware could happen due to COVID and the machines that she were on. But it was only made worse because she was on blood thinners.

And they called up my parents and one of the options was to do emergency surgery to relieve the pressure in her brain, but the doctor said that it would have been a one in a million chance that Adeline was anything of what we knew her to be and they did not end up doing it, just because of the chance, and they honestly told my parents that it wasn't going to save Adeline, and so around 4:00 in the morning on Saturday, Adeline did pass away in my mom and dad's arms.

Bolduan, who said she has three sisters, choked up along with Maureen. But Bolduan also wanted to illustrate how COVID deaths impact the living, so she asked Maureen to speak to the loss.

FAGAN: We’ve thought long and hard about, you know, what we are as a family and one of the things that a lot of us say is that Adeline was the glue for our family. But even though she really was, she passed so much of herself on to the rest of us, and we each now know exactly what Adeline wanted and what she gave in this life and I think that is enough to keep her alive within us and keep our family together because there is so much of Adeline that she can still give to this world even if she's not here because she's shaped us and provided and made us grow to be as great of a person as she was in this life.

So, there are still going to be very close sisters and I know Adeline would be very, very proud of us for doing this and would want us to remain as close as when she was alive.

Maureen also had a message for the rest of us, to help us avoid more tragedy like her own:

FAGAN: Everyone could be an Adeline and that’s the scary part of this. And if you can do something as simple as wearing the mask, social distancing, even just using hand sanitizer to do your part. I know, like you said, don't want to get into politics, but my heart breaks every time I look at something and I remember Adeline and I wake up in the morning and I realize that she's not here and I'm going to have to do that for years and years and years and I pray that it gets easier but I know it will always be with me and if you can do something so that, like I said, someone you know isn't in this situation, I think you have a right to do that just as a human being and trying to be a good person.

At that point, Bolduan was overtly crying. If you're at all like me, you will be, too.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.