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Daughter of San Quentin inmate dying of COVID-19 forced to make difficult decision

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SAN QUENTIN, Calif. (KRON) – “I was like this is the year, right, Dad? We can see if you can come home and he’s never coming home,” Dwanda Schwarz said.

A San Quentin inmate who is up for parole in just a few months is dying of COVID-19 at a Bay Area hospital.

His daughter is forced to make a very difficult decision whether or not to keep him on life support.

Dwanda Schwarz’s father is 74-years-old and has been battling COVID-19 for weeks now.

He told his daughter Tuesday night with a nod of his head that he doesn’t want to live like this anymore.

“My dad is not brain dead. He is there, but he just has no control over his body and will not gain that back,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz says he contracted coronavirus at San Quentin in June and has been fighting for his life for weeks.

Unable to speak, he listens to his daughter on FaceTime calls every day and nods and blinks to communicate.

The two of them are very close, despite his incarceration.

He’s just months away from parole but Schwarz says she will never see her father again because COVID-19 is taking him away from her.

“There are so many people who are dying alone and that is the hardest part I think about this. You know it definitely feels, very, I feel very helpless right now,” Schwarz said.

Tuesday’s conversation, one of the hardest she’s ever had to have with her father.

“He does not want to be on the machine. He clearly gave us a head shake that he didn’t want to be on the machine when we asked him and I asked him if he understood that would mean he would not survive and he nodded his head that he understood,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz has not given doctors permission to end her father’s life just yet, wanting just a few more hours to grasp what is happening.

“I don’t ever want to let my dad go and I was really hoping to be able to be with him, you know, I want my dad,” Schwarz said.

As of today, 22 inmates at San Quentin have died from coronavirus.

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