Lifestyle & Human Interest

90-Year-Old Woman Refuses Ventilator, Eyes Next Generation: ‘Save It for Younger Patients’


In the modern world, social media has helped foster a society of self-centeredness. Many people today are more concerned about good-looking selfies than they are with the well-being of their neighbors.

For one compassionate, elderly woman in Belgium, that was certainly not the case.

Ninety-year-old Suzanne Hoylaerts, a coronavirus patient, reportedly refused to be put on a ventilator earlier this month, asking her doctors to save it for younger patients.

She died March 22, two days after being hospitalized, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.

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“I don’t want to use artificial respiration. Save it for younger patients. I already had a good life,” Hoylaerts reportedly told doctors, who later relayed her words to her daughter Judith, according to the Daily Mail’s translation of an article on the Belgian news site 7sur7.

Hoylaerts wasn’t the only one affected by her decision to refuse care. Her death was quite hard on her daughter as well.

Judith told 7sur7 her elderly mother “took the lockdown seriously” and had been in isolation before her admittance to the hospital, according to Complex.

Judith also said her mother spoke to her shortly before being admitted, saying, “You must not cry. You did everything you could.”

“I can’t say goodbye to her, and I don’t even have a chance to attend her funeral,” Judith added.

This stunning show of self-sacrifice from Hoylaerts comes amidst the devastating coronavirus pandemic, which has left hospitals around the world short on supplies.

Her choice to forgo treatment may give one more patient a fighting chance to survive.

While the virus is known for its effect on the elderly, Hoylaerts’ concern for younger patients is not unwarranted.

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In the very same country of Belgium, a 12-year-old girl reportedly became the youngest known European to die from COVID-19, according to Reuters.

At a time when the world seems to be falling apart, it can often be hard to appreciate the beauty of life.

Suzanne Hoylaerts didn’t have any problem seeing that beauty. With her final act, she only hoped to give others a chance to see it as well.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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