UPDATE: Korean Siblings Who Lost Dad, Grandma to COVID-19 Still Waiting on Lung Transplant at USC


Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to report that Hannah and Joseph’s mother, Eun-Ju, has been transferred to USC Keck hospital but is still waiting on a lung transplant.

Two Korean American siblings from Los Angeles who were left devastated after COVID-19 infected the entire family has transferred their mother to USC Keck hospital on Thursday morning.

While their mother, Eun-Ju, 60, is still being evaluated and considered for a lung transplant, Hannah Haein Kim, 22, and her younger brother Joseph Kim, 17, say she will get a tracheostomy, an “alternative to her ventilator that’s much cleaner and comfortable than an oral ventilator.”


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Hi everyone! Big update! My mom is finally at USC Keck hospital. She was transferred yesterday morning and is settling in well. For the next few days, she will be evaluated and considered for the lung transplant. Nothing is certain, but the fact that she’s at USC is surreal. UCLA rejected her till the end, but USC was kind enough to welcome her in and they have already been so kind to us. Also, shoutout to the director of LA Care for making our case an exception at USC. Tomorrow she will be getting a tracheostomy, which is an alternative to her ventilator that’s much cleaner and comfortable than an oral ventilator! We are so excited for her. . . I just want to thank you all for so much love and support. My brother and I are so overwhelmed by the hospital business so it’s nice to come home to many warm messages! For the past week, I have been on CBS, ABC, NBC, and the LA Times. Many people have expressed to me that being on the news won’t make a difference, but the very day after I came out on TV, many many calls were made and we’ve made it so fast to USC. We are realizing the POWER of social media and it’s amazing. One thing that didn’t make it on TV was my appreciation for this community. It’s not just the Koreatown community, or the Asian community. EVERYONE is seriously reaching out to us and showing us that they care. We might be separated by this quarantine, but these actions are showing my family that we all can come together and care for one another! . . Throughout this process, I am still praying every day. Although our situation is tragic and repeatedly horrifying to me, Christ has shown my family so many blessings and I truly believe He has a plan for all of us. It’s through Him that this story blew up. My mother may be just starting her journey for a lung transplant, but within A WEEK we’ve made serious progress. Thank you for sharing and thank you for caring. I will be updating again very soon. Hopefully with some more good news! Till then, Fight On ✌️ #keckmedicineofusc #usckeck #covid19

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The siblings are overwhelmed by the support they have been receiving on social media.

Hannah and Joseph Kim are the only healthy remaining members after the virus claimed both their grandmother and father.

While Hannah and Joseph only lost their sense of smell, Eun-Ju was readmitted to the ICU and is in dire need of a double lung transplant.

The 22-year-old California State University student currently shoulders the burden of fending for herself and her brother’s wellbeing while also undergoing an eviction process from their new landlord who plans to demolish their building.

COVID-19 Timeline

The family of five was whittled down to three after what Hannah suspected as her grandmother, Sun Soon, 85, having contracted the virus from the nursing home she stayed in, and her father, Timothy, 68, from one of his acupuncture patients, she told CBSLA.

In a series of online journal entries for the Gen by Gen project with the Los Angeles Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCCLA), KQED compiled the timeline from their suspected contraction.

Hannah’s grandmother moved into their home on April 17, and 10 days later, on April 27, she needed to go to the hospital. Directly after, her father and mother were admitted just hours apart. On May 21, her father passed.


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My whole family is Covid-19 positive. We took this quarantine very seriously. Three weeks ago, my grandma and dad got tested positive – both from completely different places. After that, my brother, mom, and I got it too. Then after that, my grandma passed away. She was so strong. As of today, both of my parents are in the ICU at Good Samaritan Hospital. Dad is sedated, on a ventilator, and mom is also having breathing problems. If you didn’t know, this virus affects your whole body. A month ago, we were a normal family..happy that this quarantine could all give us a little break. Now, it’s just my brother and I at home and I’m dreading it so much. I’m breaking down every single day. I’m so sad. But my only hope is to cling to God every step of the way. Already, He has shown me so much love and grace. I’m missing my parents and my grandma so much. I’m on my knees, praying for my parents’ homecoming. Although I strive to live in the present-tense, I keep thinking of the past. Thinking of what I could’ve protected them from. The house is so eerie without them. My family is the very first CoronaVirus sob story that I know and probably is for you too. So this is my warning. If you’re going to go out, strap up your mouth and put on gloves. This virus is not a joke. People are hurting and dying. Please stop thinking it’s okay to go out just because the government says so. Do the rest of us a favor and please stay home. Hug your family a little tighter tonight. I seriously wish I could. #covid_19 #stayhome #family

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GoFundMe and Aid

KYCCLA created a GoFundMe for the Kim family to aid them in this difficult time.

Katherine Kim, the Senior Communications Editor at KYCCLA and the GoFundMe creator, stated that the funds would be allocated as such:

“-50% housing, moving, medical and funeral costs; living expenses (food, utility bills)
-25% Joe’s college fund (he is a rising senior and an academic star who wants to study Mechanical Engineering)
-25% savings”

The fundraiser has surpassed its $350,000 goal as of this writing, however, Eun-Ju’s life is still in danger.

Lung Transplant Needed This Week

Eun-Ju was released on May 29 after surviving COVID-19. She seemed to be getting back to her usual condition when it suddenly deteriorated as her oxygen levels plummeted once again.

The virus ravaged Eun-Ju’s lungs into an irreparable state.

“They told us that her lungs are dead. They’ve become so scarred and hardened from the virus,” Hannah said. “The only option is for her to get a lung transplant. 

Now she continues to fight for her life in PIH Health Good Samaritan Hospital, strapped to a ventilator, and “needs a transplant THIS WEEK.”

“This weekend, Hannah, Joe and the extended family have requested [an] amplification,” through social media to approve of a lung match.

“She is already on the waitlist at #UCLAHealth and #KeckMedUSC and we’d like to urge them to consider her case,” Hannah wrote.

In an interview with NBCLA, she recounted the last time she spoke to her mother, just before she was put on the ventilator.

“I asked her, ‘Hey do you have a will to fight? Are you going to live with us? Do you have energy to fight this?’ She said yes.'”

“Our dad was the most special person to both my brother and I,” Hannah told CBSLA. “And I cannot even imagine living without my mother.”

The Kim family hopes others can help by spreading their story, and escalating the urgency for the lung transplant at #UCLA Health and #KeckMedUSC.

You can donate to their GoFundMe, mail a check to HANNAH HAE IN KIM at 3010 Wilshire Blvd. #372, Los Angeles, CA 90010-1103, or purchase some of Hannah’s artworks at @hancandrawtoo.

Feature Image via @hannahkim38 (left),  The Hannah and Joseph Kim Family Fund (right)

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