Veteran NFL agent Buddy Baker is opening up about losing both of his parents to COVID-19.
On March 31, Baker announced that both of his parents, Stuart Baker, 74, and Adrian Baker, 72, died due to complications from the coronavirus. The couple had been married for 51 years, he said, and died just six minutes apart.
“My parents were two amazing individuals who impacted mine and many others' lives, and unfortunately [we] tragically lost them both within minutes of each other," Baker told ABC News. "There is an opportunity here for people to realize that [they] can have an impact by stopping the spread of the virus."
Baker took to Twitter to share the tragic news, and he urged everyone to take the pandemic and all CDC guidelines seriously.
In loving memory of my mom and dad- please make the tough and right choice and help stop the spreading of this virus. pic.twitter.com/FqVEWjdscq— Buddy Baker (@ESG_Baker) March 31, 2020
“We live in a world of, ‘It can’t happen to me, it can’t happen to us, it can’t happen to my family.’ Well, it happened to us," he said in the Twitter post. "I’d like to take this time to make people start thinking about making a change.”
In an interview with ABC News, Baker detailed his parents' decline in hopes of helping others and stopping the spread of the virus.
Baker said his parents were in perfect health until three weeks ago when they visited their doctor, who told both of them that they may have a slight case of pneumonia but should be fine. When they continued to feel worse, his parents went to the hospital on March 19.
“My dad was admitted and my mom was sent home,” said Baker, who noted that his father had asthma while his mother, 72, didn’t have any pre-existing conditions.
With his father in the hospital, Baker worried about his mother, who was home alone, anxious and sad.
“My parents were married, as I tweeted, 51 years and [were] virtually inseparable. They were never in different places and they were rarely in different rooms,” said Baker. “So we were really worried about my mom being by herself … we would go see her and she was very weak and really wasn’t walking great.”
The family didn't want to upset her with negative news about his father's health. His dad had officially tested positive for COVID-19 and had been transferred to the ICU. About an hour or two later, as his mother showed more signs of deteriorating, he received a call from the hospital saying that his father "wasn't going to make it."
Baker knew the news would devastate his mother and he worried that, in her already weakened state, she would have an anxiety attack. So Baker said the family brought her to the hospital as a “precautionary measure."
About 45 minutes after his mother was admitted, Baker said he received a call from the hospital informing him that his mother’s condition was also grave.
“In the timeframe of about five to six hours, I was informed, on the phone, by two separate doctors, that each one of [my] parents were [most likely] not going to make it,” said Baker, who added he held onto optimism for his mother, who had yet to be treated.
"[My] mom on Wednesday woke up for a few minutes and kind of waved at us through the glass. We didn't go in the room and it just got worse every day," he said.
The next day, after both of his parents had been sedated, the doctor explained to the family that neither parent was going survive, Baker said. Both had organs shutting down.
The family filled out hospice paperwork that would take Baker’s parents off the ventilators so they would be comfortable and "let nature take its course," he said.
“Our request was that when they [took them off the ventilators], that would allow them to be in the same room,” said Baker. “[The hospital] put them in the same room and they actually sent up a picture of them holding hands [while sedated].”
On March 29, Baker's parents were taken off the ventilators and they passed away minutes apart, Baker said.
“When you go through this, a lot of things go through your head. You’re also not prepared,” he said.
“I started thinking, "This has got to stop. We’ve got to work to stop spreading this virus,'” said Baker. He said that people have to stop thinking, "I’m too young, I’m too healthy" and realize that "it could happen to somebody in your family.”
Baker hopes that others are moved by his family's "misfortune and tragedy, to hopefully make a difference.”
"There's nothing that can be done, unfortunately, to bring our parents back," Baker told ABC News. "But we can hopefully save other people's lives ... by doing things to stop the spread of this virus.”