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Goodland family shares message after husband, father dies from COVID-19

COVID-19 hits western Kansas family hard
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 8:54 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A beloved western Kansas farmer is among the latest to die from COVID-19.

“Just larger than life, knew everyone, never knew a stranger,” said Dennis Shank’s wife, Gaylene Shank.

Gaylene said she and Dennis tested positive for the virus. His condition deteriorated.

“It just attacked his lung,” Gaylene said.

She says Dennis was a healthy man and they aren’t sure how he contracted the virus. Gaylene said dealing with this should be a wake-up call for everyone.

“The medical people in our country are exhausted and I feel like, they are feeling like they have been abandoned by the public,” she said.

Dennis had to be transferred out of Sherman County, about four-and-a-half hours away to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita due to his condition. Gaylene said he declined quickly. She said she saw firsthand the impact COVID-19 is having on the healthcare field with hospitals not having enough beds, and rural doctors scrambling to find any hospital that can take a patient.

Now this family is dealing with the loss of their loved one. Gaylene does have a message to Kansans right now: Do whatever you can to keep this from happening to your family.

“If it saves just one more life, it gives a little more meaning to Dennis’s life,” she said.

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