While many Covid-19 victims die alone, one Dutch paramedic is granting terminally-ill dying wishes


As the coronavirus crisis has spread across the world, thousands of people have been forced to die alone, forcibly separated from their heartbroken families.

But Dutch ambulance driver Kees Veldboer, 60, who has helped to fulfil the dying wishes of more than 14,000 terminally ill patients, has been able to continue his work despite his country imposing a lockdown.

The retired paramedic, has been able to take hundreds of dying people on one final journey since the Netherlands imposed less stringent coronavirus measures than other European countries in March.

Mr Veldboer, the founder of Stichting Ambulance Wens – the Ambulance Wish Foundation in English – drives patients to places they would like to say goodbye to.

Dutch ambulance driver Kees Veldboer, 60, who has helped to fulfil the dying wishes of more than 14,000 terminally ill patients, has been able to continue his work despite his country imposing a lockdown. Pictured: A dying woman smiles next to a field of tulips

Dutch ambulance driver Kees Veldboer, 60, who has helped to fulfil the dying wishes of more than 14,000 terminally ill patients, has been able to continue his work despite his country imposing a lockdown. Pictured: A dying woman smiles next to a field of tulips

The retired paramedic, has been able to take hundreds of dying people on one final journey since the Netherlands imposed less stringent coronavirus measures than other European countries in March. Pictured: Mr Veldboer recently took a dying man to say goodbye to his beloved horse

The retired paramedic, has been able to take hundreds of dying people on one final journey since the Netherlands imposed less stringent coronavirus measures than other European countries in March. Pictured: Mr Veldboer recently took a dying man to say goodbye to his beloved horse

Mr Veldboer wor has turned it into his full time job

With the help of his 61-year-old wife Ineke, 61, Mr Veldboer has turned his good deeds into his full time job

Among those he has recently helped is one man who was able to say goodbye to his horse, another who saw his beloved boat one last time, and several patients he took to see fields of tulips in bloom.

The Dutch government, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, imposed what they called an ‘intelligent lockdown’. 

Only businesses which involve touching, such as hairdressers and beauticians, have been forced to stop trading in the country.

And while people have been advised to stay at home, going out is allowed as long as people stay at least 1.5metres from each other.   

It means Mr Veldboer can still take people to open spaces to fulfil their dying wishes. 

Mr Veldboer said: ‘We fulfil wishes even now with the Coronavirus. We are not in a complete lockdown so we are able to make those wishes come true.

‘We can go to open spaces, to flower gardens, to an empty zoo, a park, a lot of people want to see the sea, it’s not forbidden.

‘As long as we go to open places and there are not many people around, just one or two with the patient, we are fine.

Mr Veldboer added that later this week he is heading to the south of Spain to pick up a terminally ill Dutchman who was hospitalised in the country.

‘He wanted to come back home to Netherlands to his family but he is stuck in Spain and his family is worried he will die there alone so we are going to help,’ he said.

‘Coronavirus is not going to stop us, no one will.’

Former paramedic Mr Veldboer said, 'Coronavirus is not going to stop us, no one will'. Pictured: A dying woman is able to see a field of tulips one final time with her young relative

Former paramedic Mr Veldboer said, ‘Coronavirus is not going to stop us, no one will’. Pictured: A dying woman is able to see a field of tulips one final time with her young relative

Mr Veldboer, the founder of Stichting Ambulance Wens - the Ambulance Wish Foundation in English - drives patients to places they would like to say goodbye to. Pictured: Mr Veldboer also helped one man who wanted to see his boat

Mr Veldboer, the founder of Stichting Ambulance Wens – the Ambulance Wish Foundation in English – drives patients to places they would like to say goodbye to. Pictured: Mr Veldboer also helped one man who wanted to see his boat

Mr Veldboer said: 'We fulfil wishes even now with the Coronavirus. We are not in a complete lockdown so we are able to make those wishes come true. Pictured: Another terminally ill woman was surrounded by beautiful flowers and a tree full of blossom

Mr Veldboer said: ‘We fulfil wishes even now with the Coronavirus. We are not in a complete lockdown so we are able to make those wishes come true. Pictured: Another terminally ill woman was surrounded by beautiful flowers and a tree full of blossom

The retired paramedic came up with the idea for his work when he was transferring a terminally ill patient to another hospital.

During a delay in the journey, he asked the patient where he would like to go and they replied they would like to see Rotterdam Harbour a final time.

Mr Veldboer was even able to arrange for the stretcher-bound man to go sailing.

The retired paramedic came up with the idea for his work when he was transferring a terminally ill patient to another hospital. Pictured: One man was kept warm with a thick duvet as he lay in his bed next to a field of flowers and took pictures

The retired paramedic came up with the idea for his work when he was transferring a terminally ill patient to another hospital. Pictured: One man was kept warm with a thick duvet as he lay in his bed next to a field of flowers and took pictures

While people have been advised to stay at home, going out is allowed as long as people stay at least 1.5metres from each other. It means Mr Veldboer can still take people to open spaces to fulfil their dying wishes. Pictured: Another dying patient was lucky enough to go to an ice rink

While people have been advised to stay at home, going out is allowed as long as people stay at least 1.5metres from each other. It means Mr Veldboer can still take people to open spaces to fulfil their dying wishes. Pictured: Another dying patient was lucky enough to go to an ice rink

A year later Mr Veldboer founded his foundation and has brought terminally ill people to weddings, museums, galleries, car shows, football matches and stables, among other places.

With the help of his 61-year-old wife Ineke, Mr Veldboer has turned it into his full time job.

The Netherlands has now seen 37,845 coronavirus cases, with 4,475 people confirmed to have died.  

Mr Veldboer used to work as a paramedic. Pictured: Mr Veldboer also took this family and their dying relative to the beautiful Dutch countryside for one final visit

Mr Veldboer used to work as a paramedic. Pictured: Mr Veldboer also took this family and their dying relative to the beautiful Dutch countryside for one final visit 

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