Jo Whiley says her 'worst nightmare came true' as she discussed end-of-life care for disabled sister who caught Covid

JO Whiley said her "worst nightmare came true" as she discussed end-of-life care for her disabled sister who caught Covid.

The radio DJ, 55, detailed how her sister Frances – who has the rare Cri du Chat genetic syndrome – contracted the virus in her residential care home.

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Jo says it was difficult to treat Frances as her specific learning difficulties made treating her more complicated.

When doctors tried to use oxygen to raise her levels, she refused to have the mask on her face.

Eventually Jo's mum Christine was forced to stay up all night with the mask pressed against Frances' face in a desperate bid to save her daughter.

Speaking on This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, Jo said: "It got very serious. This time last week, the next 24 hours we thought we were going to lose her.

"We found out – I would say to everybody, they need to get an oximeter, that's where you can test the oxygen levels. That's how we knew she was dangerously ill.

"Took her to hospital. She could not be contained. She could not have the mask on her face and because we couldn't get oxygen into her, her levels just dipped and dipped and dipped.

"It got to the point where we were having conversations with the intensive care unit. They were saying they couldn't do anything for her, or that it would be very difficult if she was ventilated and survived.

"We ended up four in the morning, Friday night, Saturday morning discussing end of life care, palliative care. Just imagining next Christmas without my sister.

What is cri du chat?

It is a chromosomal condition that happens when a piece of chromosome 5 is missing.

Cri du chat gets its name from the characteristic cry in infants, it sounds similar to a mewing kitten.

This is due to problems with the larynx and nervous system, but is usually gone by the age of two.

Other symptoms include feeding problems, low birth weight, unusual facial features and cognitive disabilities.

The condition affects an estimated 1 in 50,000 and is more common in females.

"And my mum saying, 'this is our worst nightmare come true'. And it was, it's the thing in the last 12 months we've dreaded."

Jo called out on Twitter for advice on how to treat someone with learning difficulties suffering from Covid.

Luckily, Great Ormond Street got in contact and built a specialised oxygen tent for Frances.

Jo continued: "So in the end, they said we're going to see what happens to her. And we just watched, with baited breath, just not knowing what the conclusion was going to be.

"And she fought it. She fought it on her own. And they think it's because she has this incredibly loud voice she sings, she dances, and she cheers and she always shouting hello at random strangers wherever.

"And they think that boasted her oxygen levels because she's very loud, she's got a lot of power."

Jo thanked "doctors, nurses and well-wishers" earlier this week as she updated fans on her condition.

However, the DJ clarified that Covid has brought more health problems with it as her sister continues to recover.

She wrote: "Covid has brought with it further complications. We’re now dealing with worrying diabetes and high blood pressure issues and my parents are exhausted beyond belief. It’s so hard observing from behind a visor and mask, helpless doesn’t cover it."

Earlier Jo questioned why she was offered the vaccine before her sister.

It was announced yesterday that government advisors are now urging GPs to invite 150,000 extra people to be vaccinated after research revealed they were at higher risk of death.

The pandemic was already having a negative effect on Jo's sister Frances.

Speaking earlier in the show, Jo said she stopped taking her and her parents' calls after someone in the care home contracted Covid – meaning Frances couldn't come home to see her parents.

Jo said: "She spent the weekend in the care home but also refused to take our calls. She normally face times me millions of times a day, during my radio show all the time. And those calls stopped.

"And we were calling the home and she refused to talk to me and she refused to talk to our mum and dad. And that just shows the impact on her mental health."

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