Mid-South family starts fund to connect hospital patients with loved ones

Mid-South family starts fund to connect hospital patients with loved ones

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - Since the coronavirus broke out, visitors have not been allowed inside of hospitals, but one Mid-South family is helping others connect with loved ones on the inside.

The idea came from a family who lost their father to COVID-19. His name was Tommy Eldred.

Tommy was one of the first COVID-19 patients at Baptist DeSoto, and when his family wasn’t able to see him they figured out a way around that by purchasing an iPad.

“We weren’t going to sit back and say, ‘you’re going to go through this alone.’ We used that iPad to basically talk, to monitor, watch, be with my father 24 hours a day” said Jeff Eldred, Tommy’s father.

Through the iPad, the family listened to music, played games and watched movies together.

“Being able to see him, talk to him, I can’t trade it for anything. And I’m glad if I couldn’t physically be there, I was at least able to tell him how I felt, see him, reassure him that he’s not alone,” said Jeff.

Tommy died on April 4. He was 76 years old.

After losing their father, the Eldred family realized many families could not communicate with their loved ones.

“His family, despite their hardships, had generously set up a fund to provide iPads so that other patients who have the coronavirus or are just hospitalized in general during this time are able to see their families and communicate with them,” said Morgan Clark, RN, Baptist DeSoto.

Clark says enough money has been raised to purchase 10 iPad’s.

“Here is one of them, that we purchased, brand new still in the package. So, I’m excited to be able to use for one of my family members today,” said Clark.

Clark says when she tells her patients the story behind the iPad they are so thankful and happy that they will be able to communicate with their family.

As for the Eldred family, Clark says she can’t thank them enough.

“Thank you guys so much for what you are doing, you’re making an impact on other people’s families and what a way to remember Mr. Eldred and the man that he was," said Clark.

If you would like to donate to the fund the Eldred family started, click here.

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