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Carroll County nurse dies of COVID-19 in Arkansas

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 4:50 PM CDT
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BERRYVILLE, Ark. (KY3) - Rachel Cummings has a lot of memories of her father, John.

He loved to fish, was a great cook, and was a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"He was a good dad for sure. It's weird knowing that he's gone," she said.

John Cummings lived in Holiday Island and was working as a nurse at Mercy in Berryville for the past three years.

”He took care of quite a few positive patients, and then he actually became symptomatic around June 17,” his daughter said.

He was diagnosed with COVID-19 later that month, developed pneumonia on top of that, and was taken to Mercy in Rogers.

Cummings had no underlying medical conditions. But his lungs started to deteriorate, and he had trouble breathing.

”He decided that he wanted to be at a facility with the capability of ECMO,” Rachel said.

ECMO is a treatment where blood is circulated through an artificial lung and pumped back into the bloodstream.

So he was transported to Mercy in Springfield. Rachel said her father couldn't get a lung transplant, and his health continued to decline.

“They allowed us to gown up and go in there with dad, and then we made the decision to pull care,” she said.

That was August 2, and her father was just 56 years old.

Rachel said the only other times she got to see her father for the last month and a half was through Facetime.

"That's the last time I got to talk to him because of all this," she said.

Rachel is a paramedic, and she hopes her father’s story helps people understand the devastating impacts of COVID, and that it doesn’t just affect certain people.  

“I don’t think people are going to take it seriously until it’s their dad, or their mom, or their grandma,” she said.

And with her dad, Rachel said there are so many things about him she’ll miss.

”Mom kept saying well now at least we can go visit him and sit by his grave,” she said.

John Cummings was laid to rest on Friday, August 7, in Eureka Springs.

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