“A good child”: the family mourns their son who died of COVID-19

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Jevin Potvin is seen in a photo taken about six months before his death in May from complications from COVID-19. Potvin struggled with drug addiction for most of his adult life and lost the use of his legs due to a blood infection about five years ago. (Submitted by Dan Potvin)

Jevin Potvin died just when his father thought he could finally take a step forward.

For more than half of his life, the 32-year-old has struggled with addictions to opioids and other drugs. He had been using a wheelchair for about five years after a blood infection from a needle damaged his spine.

Even so, until the end, her father, Dan Potvin, remained cautiously optimistic. Her son had been sober for months and, while hospitalized for his myriad health problems, was due to be returned in late April to the family farm in rural south Ottawa.

Before that could happen, Jevin fell with a fever. Doctors said it was COVID-19. Due to his already weakened immune system, he was placed in isolation.

They said there was nothing they could do, no surgeries. So on Sunday, they unplugged the plug and that was it.– Dan Potvin

On Saturday May 3, two weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the hospital called Dan Potvin and said his son was not responding.

“They did a brain scan and they found out that he had a brain hemorrhage from the drug, because I’m assuming he was taking heavy blood thinners for COVID. It’s one of the things they do, ”Potvin said of the farm late last month. . “And he never woke up.

“They said there was nothing they could do, no surgeries. So on Sunday, they pulled the plug out and that’s it. “

Dan Potvin holds his granddaughter Wren Lee – Jevin’s niece – on the steps of their farm south of Ottawa. He says his son was a “typical young man” who enjoyed skateboarding and fishing with his friends. (Trevor Pritchard / CBC)

‘Before its time’

Jevin Potvin died “before his time,” his father said. And when it comes to COVID-19, the statistics back it up.

As of Sunday, November 8, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) had attributed 341 deaths locally to COVID-19.

More than two-thirds of these deaths, 250 in all, were in people aged 80 and over. Fifty-one people in their sixties have died from COVID-19, 29 people in their sixties and nine in their fifties.

Of the roughly 30-year-olds, OPH, which does not identify people who have died from the coronavirus, has linked only one local death to COVID-19. This matches national numbers: Health Canada’s ongoing tabulation of COVID-19 statistics has confirmed only 17 deaths nationwide among those aged 30 to 39, or about 0.2% of the total number of death in the country.

People who are immunocompromised, however, are much more likely to develop serious complications from COVID-19. Jevin’s family have no doubts that his poor health – he had undergone back and heart surgeries since losing the use of his legs and was in almost constant pain – contributed to the complications that led to his death.

However, before his death, they still had hope.

“You could see it on his face. You can just say, okay, when he’s not using it. The past six months he has been doing very well. So I was hoping that… he can continue with his life, ”said Dan Potvin.

“It looked like he was going to beat him. “

Dan Potvin holds his granddaughter as they walk on the farm. Jevin Potvin used to help with the family’s cash crops as a child, picking up rocks and driving the tractor. (Trevor Pritchard / CBC)

‘A good kid’

While Jevin Potvin’s family are honest about his addiction issues and the issues that brought him about, they also remember him – in his father’s words – as a “typical young man”.

Jevin used to help on the farm when he was young, picking up stones and driving tractors. He went to high school in the nearby town of Kars, and he enjoyed skateboarding and fishing trips.

His younger sister Jessica recalled how much he loved the animated TV series Beavis and Butthead, and how he often passed himself off as the two main characters.

“His mind was a joker. And you know he [always] wanted to have fun, “she said.” Her life was very messy, but that’s what I’m trying to hold onto [to] like his true memory. ”

In recent years, Jevin had started posting YouTube videos to the various Lego sets he had completed. Before he died, he expressed a wish to return to school to study architecture, his father said.

“He got lost somewhere along the way,” said Dan Potvin. “He was a good kid. “

Dan Potvin says his son’s death from complications from COVID-19 belies the severity of the pandemic: “It’s no joke, COVID… a lot of people don’t take it seriously. (Trevor Pritchard / CBC)

Over the next few weeks, CBC Ottawa will be telling the stories of some of those who died from COVID-19. If you have lost someone to the pandemic and want to know more about what they meant to you, please let us know by sending us an email.

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