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'Rick was the rock in this family’: Davenport man dies from COVID-19 after 94 days in hospital

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 8:27 AM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The number of cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 continues to rise around the country, but for one Davenport family it’s now personal.

62-year-old Rick Pianca spent 94 days in the hospital with COVID-19 before passing away. He initially tested positive on Aug. 9 with a mild case and was told by his doctors to self-isolate at home. As the days passed, he wasn’t getting better so he went to the emergency room.

“But they didn’t have any beds at that point so they got him in an ambulance and they took him to UnityPoint in Rock Island. They gave him plasma, and they gave him Remdesivir, and got him on the pronating bed," Roni Pianca, Rick’s wife, said.

Even with these steps, Rick’s condition continued to worsen. On Aug. 18, his family made the decision to Flight for Life him to a hospital in Milwaukee.

“They were doing some research on an [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation] machine where they can take his blood and oxygenate it and then put it back in and that would help to clear his lungs,” Roni Pianca said.

Over the next 85 days in Milwaukee, with Roni there documenting it all in a journal, the doctors and nurses worked around the clock to try and help Rick recover.

“We were both gone and our family was just fractured. Because we couldn’t be together," Roni said.

After a total of 94 days in hospital rooms, on Nov. 11 Rick passed away, leaving a hole in his family’s life.

“We have two daughters, two son-in-laws, we have two granddaughters that are six and Riley just turned two on Friday. Rick was the rock in this family," Roni said, “We just want to let people know Rick was a 62 year old healthy man that somehow contracted this disease and after 94 days, he’s gone and our family will never be the same.”

As they grapple with the loss, they plan to carry on his memory and take the things he taught and lived by with them into the future.

“Don’t wait for tomorrow. If you want to do it, you got to do it now because you don’t know. You work your whole life with your big plans for retirement and what you want to do. And suddenly all of that was taken away from us," Roni said.

She said they are all extremely thankful for all of the health professionals who worked tirelessly by their side throughout the three months.

The family has created a GoFundMe to help cover medical expenses. Click here for more information.

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