Bradenton retiree Tom Sheehan dies of COVID-19 after nightmare cruise


Tom Sheehan was a household man, a prankster with a larger-than-life character and a proud Irish American.

The Bradenton retiree liked celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, spending time together with his 11 grandchildren, sensible jokes and journey.

It was that final love that led to Sheehan’s loss of life Saturday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Sheehan, 68, died of issues from COVID-19. He’s the second particular person to die of the illness at Sarasota Memorial and the third in Sarasota County.

Sarasota Memorial had 24 sufferers who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday night. The hospital has recognized 37 individuals with the illness because the outbreak first started. There have been six hospital staff recognized with the illness, together with one who’s at the moment hospitalized, Sarasota Memorial mentioned Sunday.

It seems that Sheehan contracted COVID-19 on a cruise that changed into a nightmare for its passengers. A number of passengers from the Costa Luminosa have died, and dozens have examined optimistic for the virus.

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“In his retirement years he loved seeing the world, and that’s what in the end led to the downfall,” Kevin Sheehan, certainly one of Tom Sheehan’s three kids, mentioned in an interview with the Herald-Tribune Sunday.

Tom Sheehan was on a ventilator for every week in Sarasota Memorial’s Intensive Care Unit earlier than succumbing to the illness at 8:51 p.m. on Saturday, in accordance with Kevin Sheehan.


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Sarasota Memorial confirmed Sunday that the hospital had a second COVID-19 loss of life.

Kevin Sheehan wrote on Fb about his father’s expertise with COVID-19, documenting his steep decline in a collection of posts and the heart-wrenching expertise of claiming goodbye on Friday by speakerphone as a result of he couldn’t go to him within the hospital.

“I’ve to say once more how horrible this virus may be for some,” Sheehan wrote. “My siblings, myself and our cousin had been simply on a name on speaker the place my father’s pretty nurse Michelle at Sarasota Memorial Hospital made herself obtainable so we might all say our closing goodbyes to him. I hope with all my coronary heart he received to listen to our voices.”

Sheehan doesn’t sometimes use social media. However he mentioned he needed to convey how “lonely” the expertise of getting COVID-19 is for individuals, who should be remoted from their households. He additionally needed to warn individuals to take the virus severely.

“We’ve got to take the entire political rhetoric on both aspect and throw all of it away and simply take heed to what the medical doctors and the medical professionals are saying, as a result of they’re those making an attempt to guard us,” Sheehan instructed the Herald-Tribune. “That is necessary. That is killing individuals. It’s killing lots of people.”

Tom Sheehan’s ordeal started on March 5 when the Costa Luminosa left Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

Kevin Sheehan described his father in a single Fb submit as “cussed as a goat.”

Within the days main as much as March 5, members of Tom Sheehan’s household urged him to not go on the cruise.

By that point the ill-fated journey of the Diamond Princess cruise ship — which had tons of of passengers take a look at optimistic for coronavirus and a number of deaths whereas it was quarantined at a Japan port in February — already had been effectively publicized.

“All of us had been like, ‘That is most likely not one of the best thought dad; don’t go, don’t go,’ and his thought course of was, ‘We’ll be wonderful,’” Kevin Sheehan mentioned, including his dad perceived the issue to be extra in Japan and that area of the world.

At the moment the U.S. authorities had but to situation a warning urging individuals to not take cruises.

Tom Sheehan and his spouse, Jill, Kevin Sheehan’s stepmother, received on the Costa Luminosa with their buddies, a pair who dwell in the identical Bradenton 55-and-older group.

The cruise ship had 1,400 passengers. It was sure for Venice, Italy, with stops in Antigua, Puerto Rico, Spain, the Canary Islands and France, in accordance with a New York Occasions article.

“Three days later, an Italian girl was evacuated in Puerto Rico as a result of she had signs of the coronavirus,” in accordance with the Occasions article. “Her take a look at outcomes had been delayed, and it took every week for the ship’s captain to enact strict sanitary protocols.”

The passenger who evacuated in Puerto Rico ultimately died. One other passenger died within the Cayman Islands, in accordance with the Occasions article.

Kevin Sheehan mentioned his father instructed him that if the cruise ship operators had instructed passengers concerning the sick Italian girl earlier than they received to Puerto Rico, he and his spouse would have disembarked on the island and returned dwelling instantly.

Tom Sheehan texted his son’s spouse on the finish of the journey and mentioned, “Boy, does this cruise line lie; we didn’t know anyone was sick.”

In accordance with the Occasions article, the cruise ship passengers ultimately had been confined to their rooms as they sailed throughout the Atlantic Ocean. A Fox Information article says officers within the Canary Islands, which is owned by Spain, barred the ship from docking there.

“Each time we received updates from my dad, he was increasingly more involved about what was occurring on the ship,” Kevin Sheehan mentioned. “He was form of frantically texting me and my spouse for updates.”


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French officers ultimately allowed the ship to dock in Marseille. Passengers instructed the Occasions that “the evacuation and journey again to america was extra harrowing, chaotic and scary than their ill-fated maritime voyage.”

American, Canadian and French passengers had been allowed off the Costa Luminosa in Marseille on Thursday, March 19.

Kevin Sheehan mentioned the passengers had been packed in buses and stored there a lot of that Thursday. The Occasions article mentioned the buses sat in an airport parking zone for 5 hours.

“It was an extended day on the bus; they had been all trapped collectively,” Sheehan mentioned.

Among the passengers who left the Costa Luminosa had been examined for coronavirus. However The Occasions article mentioned the People had been allowed to depart earlier than the take a look at outcomes had been recognized. They took a red-eye flight in a single day to Atlanta, arriving Friday morning, March 20.

Sheehan was stunned by what occurred subsequent. He mentioned the cruise ship passengers weren’t examined or quarantined from others within the Atlanta airport after they arrived.

“We had been pondering as quickly as he received in, the CDC’s gonna quarantine them as a result of so many individuals are sick, however that didn’t occur,” Sheehan mentioned. “My spouse and I had been shocked.”

Sheehan believes American officers working for the U.S. State Division and CDC didn’t absolutely perceive what they had been coping with, saying they “didn’t know what they had been getting in Atlanta; they didn’t know what was coming off the airplane.”

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Sheehan has since spoken to different passengers who had been on the cruise ship together with his father.

“You’ve got this group of 100 those who had been dumped actually in the principle Atlanta airport to fend for themselves,” he was instructed, noting that the cruise ship passengers had been strolling across the airport, going to varied places to examine on flights.

Sheehan’s father and stepmother flew into the Sarasota-Bradenton Worldwide Airport late on March 20 and went to the hospital the subsequent day with their Bradenton buddies who traveled on the cruise with them. Of the 4, three of them had been examined for coronavirus, and all three examined optimistic.

Tom Sheehan by no means left the hospital. He was rapidly placed on a ventilator.

Kevin Sheehan’s Fb posts describe his anguish as his dad’s situation deteriorated. His first submit was on March 23.

“He’s in crucial situation on a ventilator,” Sheehan wrote. “He’s medically paralyzed so his physique received’t combat the ventilator.”

“The one cause I’m posting that is so everybody takes this severely,” Sheehan added.

Sheehan posted one other replace on March 24, saying his father was nonetheless in crucial situation.

“The coronavirus creates a thick mucus layer within the lungs, which makes it very exhausting in your physique to get the oxygen it usually does,” Sheehan wrote.

Sheehan once more pleaded for individuals to heed public well being warnings.

“Please be secure and belief what the medical doctors are saying,” Sheehan wrote.

Later that night, Sheehan posted once more, saying his dad had obtained hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that has obtained numerous consideration after a French examine indicated some sufferers handled with it had optimistic outcomes. However Sheehan mentioned they needed to cease giving his dad the drug due to unwanted side effects.

“I can’t say sufficient how scary this virus is and the way anybody that contracts it’s going to really feel so alone,” Sheehan added. “I’m really grateful he’s not awake for all this. The federal government could be silly to take away the quarantine pointers the (Facilities for Illness Management) and (World Well being Group) suggest. What good is a robust financial system if all of us could lose a liked one to this virus. Be secure! Defend yourselves.”

Sheehan continued to doc his dad’s downward spiral.

On March 25, Sheehan wrote: “Issues should not going effectively. His lungs and kidneys are shutting down and the medical doctors are anxious about his coronary heart shutting down. They started dialysis immediately to filter the toxins from his blood.”

“I’m damaged as I write this and waves of tears come and go all through the day,” Sheehan continued on March 25. “I’m perplexed how I actually really feel, however I feel that telling the story will assist others, so I really feel the necessity to hold posting so EVERYONE will heed the suggestions of the CDC and WHO as a substitute of listening to politicians for recommendation.”

“I hope none of you or your households are touched personally by this virus,” he added. “Please do what you’ll be able to to assist others throughout as of late. I need to personally thank the unbelievable medical workforce at Sarasota Memorial Hospital for the exhausting work they’ve been doing and the danger they themselves are taking. You all deserve medals.”

On March 26, Sheehan described his dad as “really combating for his life” and once more urged individuals to comply with public well being warnings.

“Keep secure and keep away from the those who aren’t following security protocols put forth for us all,” Sheehan wrote.

On March 27, Sheehan wrote an extended submit about saying goodbye to his dad.

“His entire physique is shutting down and we instructed him it’s OK to let go now,” Sheehan wrote.

Sheehan described his dad as “cussed as a goat, all the time wore a devilish grin, liked to play sensible jokes, had a depraved humorousness and loved being with household and buddies.” He mentioned his dad ended each dialog, even textual content message exchanges, with a “I really like you.”

“He helped individuals in want and supported individuals to a fault,” Sheehan wrote. “Boy, did he get pleasure from St. Patrick’s Day and his Irish heritage. He liked his spouse, Jill. He liked his kids Kevin, Megan, Ryan and Adam. He liked his grandkids, all 11 of them. He liked his prolonged household. He liked his buddies. Most significantly, he might be missed by all of us. Love you Pops, with all of my coronary heart.”

Sheehan attended highschool in Illinois and lived in Oak Park exterior of Chicago, working as a dealer on the Chicago Mercantile Alternate and as a senior underwriter for Wells Fargo financial institution earlier than transferring to the Sarasota space when he retired.

Kevin Sheehan mentioned his father and stepmother had been extraordinarily lively of their 55-and-older group, serving to to prepare events on New Yr’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and different holidays.

Now his stepmother is quarantined at dwelling alone. Her sister, who lives in the identical group, brings her meals and drinks, leaving them on her doorstep. She appears to be getting higher.

Your complete expertise has been disorienting for Kevin Sheehan, who lives in Sarasota and works in gross sales for an area firm.

“This entire factor is simply so surreal,” he mentioned. “It’s like certainly one of these plague motion pictures you see on the market; it’s simply surreal.”

Acclaimed playwright Terrence McNally, 81, died Tuesday of COVID-19 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He was the primary particular person to die of the illness in Sarasota County. An 82-year-old man died Thursday of COVID-19 at Venice Regional Bayfront Well being.

As of Sunday night there have been 4,950 coronavirus circumstances in Florida, and 60 deaths. There have been 60 circumstances in Sarasota County and 38 circumstances in Manatee County, which additionally has one loss of life.

Kevin Sheehan mentioned he particularly desires to thank the medical staff who cared for his father. Two nurses and a health care provider had been in fixed contact with the household, offering common updates.

“I solely commend the danger that the Sarasota Memorial Hospital workforce is taking,” he mentioned, calling the workers’s dedication “completely wonderful.”

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