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24-year-old Michigan man dies from COVID-19; father diagnosed days later

Ben Hirschmann’s doctor told him he would be fine

DETROIT – It’s been an absolute nightmare for Denise and Robert Hirschmann. Their son Ben Hirschmann’s life was cut short at the age of only 24 because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Just the loss of a son or a daughter like that just leaves a hole that will never be filled,” Robert Hirschmann said.

Over the course of 12 days, Ben Hirschmann was in constant communication with his doctor via teleconferencing. Time after time he was reassured that he would be all right.

“She told him she was sure it wasn’t the virus, she would not allow him to be tested she would not allow him to go to the ER,” Denise Hirschmann said.

Sadly, Ben Hirschmann was never able to be tested or treated -- a move his parents believe could have saved his life if the virus was detected.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that if you could have seen her in person. She would have picked up on all these things,” Robert Hirschmann said.

Robert Hirschmann started to feel symptoms and even with history of a heart attack, pneumonia and finding out his son was COVID-19 positive, the 55-year-old was still unable to get tested. Eventually he was diagnosed.

The couple is now hoping and praying for some type oversight to make sure that those who actually need to be tested and treated can actually do just that.

“The pain is undefinable. It is, it’s past that it’s permanent and it’s forever, but you know it’s it’s made worse by the fact that was some photos that he was a healthy young man reached out to his doctor on several occasions and he was not allowed to be treated,” Denise Hirschmann said.

If there was any type of good news that could come out of this, Local 4 has been told a senator is creating a bill in Ben Hirschmann’s name that will prevent what happened to him from happening to someone else.

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.