Whittington mourns for midwife

‘Hard-working and very popular’ mother-of-two dies from Covid-19

Friday, 8th January 2021 — By Tom Foot

Whittington pic works

Whittington Hospital

A MIDWIFE has died from Covid-19 in the latest chilling reminder of the dangers facing NHS hospital staff on the coronavirus frontline.

Friends and colleagues at the Whittington Hospital were mourning again after the mother-of-two – who had worked at the hospital in Archway for 13 years – passed away last week.

She was described as “hard-working and very popular” and “well liked by all”.

The Whittington would not comment on the death following a request from her family, but said an official cause of death had not yet been established.

A colleague said she had died “from Covid”, adding: “She loved her family, husband and two children who are devastated by her loss. Our maternity unit is shaken by her death. We are all ­heart­broken.”

An online fundraiser has been set up to give her a “fitting send-off”.

News of the death came amid a grim start to the New Year, which saw:

• Prime Minister Boris Johnson order a new national lockdown which will last for at least seven weeks.

• Warnings that one in every 30 people in the capital now has the virus after the number of patients in hospital and deaths soared.

• Pressure on health services to administer as many vaccines as possible.

All non-emergency operations have been cancelled at UCLH, which also serves some patients from Islington, leading to concerns that a huge backlog of patient appointments will cause significant delays long after the lockdown is lifted.

As happened last spring, medical students have once again been brought onto the wards.

Meanwhile, the newly built Nightingale Hospital in east London has been empty because staff are needed for existing hospitals elsewhere.

Three people have died from the virus at the Whittington in the past seven days where there are 121 Covid patients, according to this week’s figures.

Paediatric A&E departments at both UCLH and the Royal Free in Hampstead have been closed, meaning all child emergency patients being redirected to the Whittington.

NHS staff have been ordered not to speak to the media during the current Covid-19 wave but this has not stopped sources contacting the Tribune this week saying they are “severely traumatised” and “exhausted”.

“The scale of what is happening is off the chart, and it feels like there is no end in sight,” said one nurse at UCLH.

The death of the mid­wife at the Whittington, who was originally from Zimbabwe, will once again raise the alarm over the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on black and ethnic minority (BAME) people.

The North Central London NHS trust, which manages the NHS in Camden, urged doctors this week to remain “vigilant” about “signs of deterioration” in BAME patients, despite meter readings from the “pulse oximeters”.

A Whittington statement said: “Like the whole NHS, Whittington Health is currently experiencing pressure as a result of a rapid increase in Covid patients.

“However, the safety of our staff and patients remains our top priority and our colleagues are working tirelessly to en­sure that we can continue to provide safe, effective and compassionate care to those who require it.”

In a statement, UCLH chief executive Marcel Levi said: “The situation is worse than it was during the first peak and the end is not in sight.”

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