Woman spent would-be wedding day in hospital and died of COVID just five days later

A Texas woman who was supposed to tie the knot last month instead died of coronavirus just five days after her what would have been her wedding.

Stephanie Lynn Smith, a 29-year-old alumni coordinator at South Plains College in Levelland, spent Nov. 13, her would-be wedding day, hospitalized with both COVID-19 and pneumonia, according to the obituary published by NBC News.

Smith’s fiancé Jamie Bassett, a 31-year-old data analyst, took to Facebook the day they were supposed to marry, juxtaposing the fantasy of the day with the reality.

“Today was supposed to be my wedding day,” he said. “Instead, Stephanie is in the hospital getting her oxygen levels up and I haven’t seen her in two days. This really sucks and I just want everything to not be this way.”

Stephanie Lynn Smith was just 29 when she died.
Stephanie Lynn Smith was just 29 when she died.

The couple, who met on a dating app in 2017, was supposed to marry that day in a scaled-down ceremony officiated by the bride-to-be’s older brother, in the Lubbock field where Basset had popped the question.

Nurses originally told Smith’s loved ones that her diagnosis “wasn’t super severe,” Bassett recalled.

The young woman seemed cheery on Nov. 15 when she took to Facebook about the nurses who “will get giddy for me when I show them a photo of my wedding gown.

“Not out of the woods….far from it,” she continued, noting though that she was “feeling every single prayer.”

Smith was suffering anxiety attacks — her mother believes the isolation was difficult for the social butterfly — when she was transferred to intensive care on Nov. 17, as hospital staffers thought monitoring her would be easier through the windows in her ICU room.

Even so, Bassett said the family was told the transfer “was not necessarily anything to be extremely concerned about.”

Smith did have contact with Bassett and her family over the phone and FaceTime at the time and they were granted permission to see her in-person early Nov. 18.

Though Bassett arrived to the hospital with Smith’s parents and brother by about 5:30 or 6 a.m., the young bride-to-be was already gone.

“They told us that they’d lost her pulse four times, and they brought her back three times with CPR, and for the last one they couldn’t get her pulse back,” said Bassett, who on Wednesday noted he feared that when the family was told they could visit — something only permitted if the patient was in serious condition.

“I was kind of dreading it and had that in the back of my mind the whole time we were driving to the hospital,” he said.

The family doesn’t know how Smith, who was diligent about wearing a mask, contracted the virus. Though she had worked on a rotating basis with two colleagues since the summer and had limited visitors in the months leading up to Nov. 18, she’d been given the green light to work remotely the two weeks prior to her wedding.

Smith, according to Bassett, was “someone that you don’t meet everyday” and “an uncommonly caring and loving person who just wants to fix the world.”