COVID-19: Family of Ruby Princess victim ‘shocked’ by report
WHILE the family of former Rockhampton man Des Williams continues to mourn his tragic passing at the hands of Covid-19, they have been left shocked by what they say was incorrect information reported by Queensland Health.
The 85-year-old died in Toowoomba Hospital last Wednesday after contracting coronavirus on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.
It was originally reported by Queensland Health that Des had "underlying medical conditions".
Des's brother Graham Williams, who lives in Rockhampton, said reading that was an absolute shock to the whole family because he "had no underlying medical conditions".
"The hospital said he died from coronavirus and nothing else," Graham said.
"He got a bad dose of it and it went to his lungs. He had no respiratory problems or heart problems. He had no prior health conditions."
Des's wife Bev Williams was also on the ship, their 11th cruise together in their 23 years of marriage.
Graham said Bev had also recently tested positive to the virus.
"In the later days when Des was starting to go downhill, they tested her too and she was positive," he said.
"She is in isolation on her own at home. None of the family can go near her. We keep in touch, but it doesn't do much for her. She has another nine days and can't plan the funeral."
Graham worked as a principal and secondary principal, often moving around the state for work. He taught at Yeppoon State High School, North Rockhampton State High School and Toolooa State High School to name a few.
His brother Des worked as a minister for the Uniting Church for about 45 years before retiring in Toowoomba.
"We were both born here in Rockhampton, but he left when he was 19 to be a national serviceman," Graham said. "He then trained to become a minister.
"In his later years he moved to Toowoomba. He would go out to the cattle and sheep stations and perform pastoral work with them and conduct services in those very small communities.
"He did that for about ten years before he retired."
Graham, 77, said he would remember his elder brother as a "gentle and kind man" who loved his family.
"He was a real family man Des, he loved his family and he loved gardening," he said.
"We both liked cruises. We never went on one together because they always liked to do their thing and we liked to do our thing. We were on that same ship a month before Des and Bev. We got back on February 8.
"We didn't get a chance to get together too often because we lived in different towns, but we did try to catch up every year as a family. The last we caught up was in September last year. Des had two children, three stepchildren and nine grandkids."
Queensland Health could provide no further details on Des's death other than what was reported in the original media statement due to patient confidentiality.