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Suzanne Hoylaerts from Binkom, near Lubbeek, was first brought to the doctor by her daughter Judith when she began experiencing a loss of appetite and shortness of breath. She was later hospitalized and tested positive for COVID-19. At that point, she was placed in isolation, leaving her separated from her daughter.
Hoylaerts reportedly told doctors: "I don't want to use artificial respiration. Save it for younger patients. I already had a good life."
She had a low oxygen concentration and required critical treatment. She died on March 22, two days after she was admitted to the hospital, Het Laatste Nieuws, a Dutch-language newspaper based in Antwerp, Belgium, reported.
Judith said her mother was hospitalized last year for pneumonia, lived alone and "took the lockdown seriously,” leaving family wondering how she contracted the novel virus.
Before she was placed in isolation, Judith said her mother told her, "You must not cry. You did everything you could."
"I can't say goodbye to her, and I don't even have a chance to attend her funeral," Judith said after her mother’s death.
Funeral services, as well as weddings and birthday parties and other major life events, have been canceled in many countries as public health officials work to curb in-person gatherings to prevent the spread of infection.
Belgium has recorded at least 12,775 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 705 people in Belgium have died.
Health professionals around the globe are facing ventilator shortages, as they race to treat those critically ill with the novel COVID-19 respiratory disease.
Social media users have praised Hoylaerts for her selflessness. Her story received more than 2,000 likes and shares in the private Facebook group “Corona Virus COVID-19 Australia,” 9Honey in Australia reported.
“Not all #Heroes wear capes!!” one Twitter user wrote. Another said: “We will not forget her sacrifice.”