WATCH: Family who lost father to COVID raising money to donate iPads for hospital room visits, goodbyes

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For almost a year now, the pandemic has kept family apart from their loved ones dying in hospitals. That includes one family of firefighters, medical professionals and first responders who lost their father in January. Now they’re trying to raise enough money to make sure that a hospitalized loved one can at least be reached through a video call.

“He didn’t want to be alone. He didn’t want to die alone,” said Sheila Miller.

Photo goes with story
Charles Foughty and his family.

She and her siblings, the heartsick children of the late Charles Foughty, were forced to part ways with him at the VA Medical Center after bringing him in to get checked out. It wasn’t until they arrived they learned the 79-year-old had COVID-19.

“I prayed with him,” Miller said. “He said, ‘I’m going to be fine, I’ve been in a hospital before.’ I said, ‘I know, daddy. We love you, and you’re not going to be alone.”

But those words were filled with guilt and fear, knowing it was very possible they wouldn’t ever see him again.

In fact, it was three weeks before they were able to lay eyes on him again, when staff held up one of only two iPads the hospital had on hand, so that his family could be present with him in some way through his final hours.

“We prayed over him, we played some songs for him, read scripture over him,” said his daughter, Cassie Williams. “Just the comfort for us to know that he knew we were there, we felt like he was comforted because he could hear our voices.”

Photo goes with story
Charles Foughty receiving loving messages from his family live through an iPad.

His family was blessed to be present with him as he passed.

Now they’re hoping to use their grief and his memory for good.

“There’s so many people that are going through this very same thing,” said Cassie’s husband, Shane.

They started a GoFundMe account to raise enough money to put 10 iPads, along with stands, in 10 Oklahoma hospitals. They want to make sure no one is forced to go through their hospital stay in solitude, and that loved ones can get the crucial moments of togetherness and closure in these difficult times.

If they raise enough money, they hope to put iPads in nursing homes as well.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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