Aaron is not just a statistic, says father

The heartbroken father of a Londonderry teenager who died suddenly in hospital this week said his son’s passing has been reduced to a “newspaper headline and a statistic”.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 30th October 2020, 8:26 am
Aaron Doherty
Aaron Doherty

Jim Doherty spoke of his deep hurt after some media outlets described his son Aaron as “NI’s youngest Covid victim”.

Aaron, from Creggan, passed away at Altnagelvin Hospital on Tuesday after taking ill the day before.

It’s understood the 17-year-old, who lived with a condition known as Cushing’s Syndrome, had tested positive for coronavirus earlier in the month but subsequent tests returned negative results.

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His father said that, while, technically, his son’s death may be attributed as Covid-related by the health authorities, he is angry that he appears to have been reduced to the “latest statistic in a worldwide pandemic”.

“We’ve lost our special, beautiful wee boy but, for some, he’s just a number and a headline,” he told the Derry Journal.

“While we are trying to deal with our entire world falling apart, we’re also having to cope with what I can only describe as a media circus.

“I take great exception to newspaper headlines which say Aaron was NI’s youngest Covid victim. He didn’t have Covid when he died. Recent tests for the virus were negative. He was tested only last week. It was negative.

“I want people to know that, when Aaron died, he didn’t have Covid-19. He had an underlying health condition and, as far as we are concerned, he died from heart failure.”

Mr Doherty added: “I can tell you what the headlines don’t tell you – Aaron was a wonderful boy. He was my son. He was so special. I loved him dearly and I will miss him terribly. He is so much more than a statistic. He is so much more than a headline in a newspaper.

“We’re trying to grieve.”