'Perfectly healthy' Florida couple die of coronavirus just minutes apart after being married for 51 years
74-year-old Stuart Baker and his wife 72-year-old Adrian Baker, were living in retirement in Boynton Beach and were perfectly healthy just weeks before they contracted COVID-19
BOYNTON BEACH, FLORIDA: A couple from Florida, who was married for more than 51 years, died of complications from the novel coronavirus infection last month.
The pair, 74-year-old Stuart Baker and his wife 72-year-old Adrian Baker, were living in retirement in Boynton Beach and were perfectly healthy just weeks before they contracted COVID-19. None of them had any serious underlying health conditions.
The duo's son Buddy Baker, a longtime NFL agent, opened up about the loss of his parents and used his tragic story to alert Americans of the seriousness of the deadly virus. Baker, in a video on Twitter, urged people to listen to social distancing and stay-at-home guidance from public health officials.
Baker, president and CEO of Exclusive Sports Group, while talking to CNN, said: "Until it touches you or touches somebody you know or you hear a story, you kind of feel removed from it... Hopefully, my parents' passing doesn't go in vain."
Baker revealed that his family was initially optimistic about his parents' diagnosis. He then detailed the events leading up to their passing saying Stuart and Adrian visited a doctor nearly three weeks ago after they fell ill. The couple was eventually sent home. When their symptoms did not improve after a few days, their doctor recommended that they visit the hospital. They were sent home from the hospital and were advised to self-quarantine until they felt better.
"This is pre- the world shutting down, pre- the NCAA tournament getting canceled, so you're still not thinking this is going to be something which is life-threatening," their son said, adding that he would call to check on them regularly but their health did not appear to be improving.
The Bakers were asked to return to the hospital on March 19. Stuart, who had a fever at the time and had asthma, was admitted at the facility, however, Adrian, who did not have a fever, was asked to self-quarantine. Baker said his family was optimistic and was in touch with his father regularly on his phone.
Stuart, nearly 48 hours later, was admitted to the ICU. The family was still optimistic because he went from being on 60 percent oxygen to 50 percent, suggesting that things were going in the right direction. Meanwhile, Stuart being admitted to the hospital was taking a mental toll on Adrian who was away from him.
"We just thought that was the result of my dad being away from her for the last five days, which was very, very very infrequent in their lives together," Baker said, adding that he and his sister would visit their mother a few times a day, sitting outside the garage while Adrian sat inside.
The family, on March 24, received a call from the hospital, alerting that Stuart had tested positive for COVID-19, with doctors adding that it did not look like he would survive the infection.
Baker said that the call was shattering for them, but they decided not to upset their mother with the news and took her to the hospital as a precautionary measure. Nearly 45 minutes after Adrian was checked in at the hospital, doctors reported that her oxygen levels were very low, and that she would not survive the infection either.
Baker and his sister then decided to move their parents to hospice care at the counsel of medical professionals who said their organs were failing. The couple was moved to the same room and taken off their ventilators to be comfortable, they passed within minutes of each other.
"They were as compatible and inseparable as two human beings have ever been married and existed on earth," Baker said.
COVID-19 has infected nearly 280,000 people in the United States with a confirmed death toll of over 7,000.