How deadly diseases change personal as well as national histories | Jim Waterson

My grandfather lost his life to TB, but his brother would go on to be part of the scientific team that coined the term ‘coronavirus’

When my grandfather’s lungs finally collapsed, so did my family. He spent his final weeks receiving oxygen to help keep him alive, his body having been eaten away by disease. My dad, allowed in to say goodbye for the final time, was horrified to see his father reduced to a thin wisp of a man, surrounded by medical equipment.

The compassion shown towards him by NHS staff was extraordinary, even if it took some pressure from my ever-watchful great uncle to make sure my grandfather got the care needed. Everyone did what they could. It wasn’t enough.

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