Michele and Cynthia Racanati Iowa identical twins contract COVID-19 at same time, but only one of them survives as the surviving sister discusses feeling survivor’s guilt.
Cynthia Recanati, 47, said she is suffering from ‘survivor’s guilt’ after her identical twin sister, Michelle Recanati, died of COVID-19.
The two sisters who lived together and worked at MercyOne in Oelwein, let their guard down recently after months of vigilance against the deadly disease — including attending social outings with no masks or physical distancing — with both women contracting the coronavirus KGAN-TV reported.
Cynthia contracted a mild case of COVID-19 in which she felt ‘cold symptoms’, a headache, and ‘very fatigued and tired’ eyes.
At the same time Cynthia came down with COVID, her sister, Michele and their brother Phil also contracted the virus.
‘….she’d go back and do it over again’
Told Cynthia, ‘She was actually texting me, so I didn’t realize how bad she was doing ’til I got home, and she kept on saying how hard it was to breathe.’
Cynthia took her sister to the ER when her condition worsened.
‘She said that when she was sick that if she’d go back and do it over again, she wouldn’t have gone to like birthday parties and the Halloween celebrations and things that we had done,’ she said.
Michele was soon transferred to MercyOne in Waterloo and then flown to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where she was hooked up to an ECMO machine, which pumps blood to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back.
‘They believe that she had a stroke while at MercyOne in Waterloo, and a blood clot broke off from her heart and went up through her carotid artery and stopped the flow of blood and oxygen to the entire left side of her brain,’ Cynthia said.
The mother of three was later declared brain-dead.
‘Her son made the very difficult decision that she would have wanted,’ Cynthia said, ‘which was to be taken off of life support and she passed within 10 minutes.’
Cynthia said the whole family has survivor’s guilt.
‘And I wonder what I could have done differently, you know, if I insisted that she go to the ER at an earlier time,’ she said.