Parents say 28-year-old doctor who died after coronavirus battle spent her life helping people

CNN's Kate Bolduan speaks with Maureen Fagan, whose 28-year-old sister, Dr. Adeline Fagan, died from coronavirus complications.

Posted: Sep 24, 2020 7:31 PM
Updated: Sep 24, 2020 7:31 PM

Dr. Adeline Fagan's goal in life was to help people, her parents said.

It began when she was little -- an early talker who was an inquisitive people person. It carried on to when she was a 5-year-old, running around with a toy stethoscope around her neck.

It motivated the second-year OB-GYN resident to go into medicine and, later, to get onto the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic in Houston, her parents Mary Jane and Brant Fagan told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.

Adeline Fagan, 28, was doing a rotation two months ago treating coronavirus patients in the emergency room when she developed an infection that ended last week with her death, now among more than 200,000 lives lost in the US to the pandemic. As her parents mourn her, they remember a woman who spent her life dedicated to helping others.

Fagan knew she was going to be a doctor from the time she was 11, Brant Fagan said. That was when she developed a terrible illness that put her in a wheelchair.

"She went to a doctor who talked to her like a real human being, like an adult practically, and from that Day 1, she said she wanted to be a doctor to help people like that doctor helped her," he said. "That one visit changed her life."

From there, she worked as a certified nursing assistant before medical school, and she went to Haiti four times on medical missions to serve people who lived too far outside a city to have easy health care access.

Though she had a history of asthma, upper respiratory infections and pneumonia, her sisters told TV station KHOU, going into work was "what (Adeline) wants to be doing."

"She just loved to help people, she really did," Brant Fagan said.

But in July, by the end of a 12-hour shift, Adeline Fagan began to feel under the weather, according to a GoFundMe page. Within the week, her symptoms escalated, and she was admitted to the hospital.

Her family couldn't be with her, even though she was "so incredibly frightened," Mary Jane Fagan said. But fortunately, Adeline had taken her cell phone with her to the hospital. The family would keep her on the phone all day as they went about her lives, not necessarily talking all the time but reassuring her that they were connected to her, her mother said.

It's not something every family of coronavirus patients gets to do, she said. And unlike most families, Adeline Fagan's parents got to see her in the days before she died.

As Mary Jane Fagan left the 15 or 20 minutes she was allowed with her daughter, Adeline mustered the energy to give her mother a kiss -- a gift the older woman will hold onto forever, she said.

The next time her relatives saw her, Adeline Fagan was suffering a brain bleed, and they held her in her last moments of life.

"So many parents have not been able to, and it breaks my heart," Mary Jane Fagan said.

The virus is still taking from them, Fagan's parents said. They are stuck with memories of not being able to go to their daughter when she was scared, knowing as a doctor what could lay ahead of her. And arranging a funeral for their child is even harder as they account for pandemic-related restrictions, Mary Jane Fagan said.

Adeline's parents want people to remember keep others safe by wearing a mask and social distancing, Brant Fagan said.

"It may be your mailman, it may be your doctor, or your nurse or your neighbor," he said. "You're doing it for other people, not necessarily yourself."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324537

Reported Deaths: 5594
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44186858
Lake28094462
Allen18660301
Elkhart17663230
St. Joseph17256234
Hamilton13612170
Vanderburgh10028121
Tippecanoe896729
Porter855386
Johnson6718169
Hendricks6412158
Vigo625889
Monroe550450
Clark531078
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Delaware5075103
LaPorte481196
Kosciusko475941
Howard364177
Bartholomew335365
Warrick335372
Floyd329478
Wayne325678
Marshall311846
Cass303931
Grant287150
Hancock272957
Noble264946
Henry256437
Boone255054
Dubois245631
Dearborn228231
Jackson226334
Morgan221243
Gibson194926
Knox193021
Shelby192656
Clinton185421
DeKalb183932
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Wabash172821
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Miami170815
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Jennings90414
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Perry85121
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Washington8127
Franklin73427
Carroll71913
Orange70028
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Tipton60327
Parke6026
Newton57812
Rush5708
Blackford56612
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Pulaski41815
Martin3705
Benton3643
Brown3574
Crawford3081
Union2782
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Ohio2387
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 399808

Reported Deaths: 6346
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin52652672
Cuyahoga39132746
Hamilton31491372
Montgomery21355242
Butler15768149
Lucas15301420
Summit14667330
Stark9780209
Warren878777
Mahoning7985301
Lake752566
Lorain7149106
Clermont622953
Delaware597337
Licking589977
Trumbull5867148
Fairfield576464
Greene559568
Clark5438129
Allen518389
Medina496557
Marion489359
Wood4861108
Miami456268
Pickaway410548
Portage385574
Columbiana376599
Tuscarawas360567
Richland349639
Wayne340894
Mercer299248
Muskingum262510
Hancock257240
Ross251259
Darke246160
Auglaize243935
Erie240868
Ashtabula240454
Putnam234549
Geauga227051
Union20838
Scioto204316
Lawrence201139
Shelby199917
Athens19984
Seneca192919
Belmont176729
Madison172019
Sandusky166429
Huron163022
Preble162521
Defiance149923
Holmes146939
Knox139719
Logan139018
Jefferson138113
Fulton135826
Crawford134417
Washington133427
Ottawa128830
Ashland117328
Williams11479
Clinton113115
Highland108118
Brown10755
Hardin107019
Henry105423
Champaign10535
Jackson102012
Van Wert99918
Fayette97317
Guernsey96814
Morrow9682
Coshocton91015
Perry86613
Adams83813
Gallia81615
Pike7921
Wyandot76118
Paulding70012
Hocking68516
Noble65124
Carroll53210
Meigs41712
Monroe34921
Morgan2925
Harrison2433
Vinton2326
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