Nurse, 28, died from Covid less than a week after giving birth at hospital where she worked
A NURSE died with Covid less than a week after giving birth at the hospital where she worked.
Mary Agyapong, 28, spent at least the last week of her life with the virus – a diagnosis initially dismissed by medics, despite her collapsing at home and suffering acute breathing difficulties.
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She had been working up until March 12 last year – with her husband revealing she had been worried about the deadly bug.
She sadly died of multiple organ failure and Covid-19 on April 12, a coroner has ruled.
Delivering a narrative conclusion at the inquest into her death, coroner Emma Whitting said: "The deceased died after contracting Covid-19 but it remains unclear where and when her exposure to the virus had occurred."
Her widower Ernest Boateng had told the inquest at Bedfordshire and Luton Coroner's Court that she was concerned about becoming infected at work while heavily pregnant.
Ms Agyapong, who lived in Luton and was originally from Ghana, died as the Covid-19 case rate soared across the UK.
After the ruling, Mr Boateng said: "The sudden death of my wife and the mother of our two children has been the hardest pain to bear.
"In those early days after Mary's death, I was only able to carry on because of the need to care for our children and provide them with a loving home.
"Mary was strong, capable, vibrant, full of life and the most precious person in my life. It is still difficult to believe that she lost her life to the Covid-19 virus.
"I am glad that those who were involved in Mary's care in the final weeks of her life have had to give a full account of what happened.
"I hope that the fact that they have had to do so will remind them of the need to always give the best possible care to women in Mary's situation – especially black women who are themselves on the frontline of healthcare."
The coroner called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to press ahead with a public inquiry into the pandemic "as soon as practicable" as she expressed her own condolences to Ms Agyapong's family.
She said: "Whilst Mary's untimely death is first and foremost a tragedy for you her husband, for her children, and all her relations colleagues and friends, it is for society too.
"As a society, it is important that we learn from all of the lives that have been lost as a result of this terrible pandemic and to consider the wider policy implications that may be lost from each and every one of these.
"Since this is a process which goes far beyond a coroner's inquest and the Prime Minister has indicated his intention to hold a full public inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic, I urge him to proceed with this as soon as practicable."
The mum was admitted to hospital at 35 weeks pregnant with breathing difficulties on April 5 last year.
She was briefly discharged – but just two days later, on April 7, she was readmitted with coronavirus symptoms.
After delivering her baby girl by caesarean section, Mrs Agyapong was rushed to intensive care, but despite the efforts of medics, she died on April 12.
She worked on the wards until March 12 but was then signed off with back problems – but continued to go to hospital for medical appointments.
Mr Boateng said Mrs Agyapong continued to work at the start of the pandemic, but was "very concerned about the situation involving Covid-19".
"When she came home from work, she would take her clothes off at the front door and take a shower immediately," he said.
"She was very worried about bringing Covid into the home."
'FULL OF LIFE'
Mr Boateng said his wife also began sleeping in the spare room at the family home to protect her husband and their son, AJ.
"She told me the staff were very scared about the virus because they were on the front line and likely to come into contact with Covid-19 patients," he said.
"I wanted her to stay at home. But due to high demand at the hospital, she had to continue working.
"She tried to reassure me that everything would be okay but I could understand she was anxious and panicking deep down."
Mr Boateng said he strongly believed his wife, who was originally from Ghana, contracted coronavirus while at work.
He said: "My understanding is Mary was being pressurised to get back to work, as she had meetings about her sickness records earlier that year."
He said Ms Agyapong "struggled" with her second pregnancy and "continued to work long, 12-hour shifts".
"She found it very tiring and difficult," he said.
Mr Boateng said he was not allowed onto the maternity ward to be with his wife when she gave birth to their daughter on April 7 and described the huge impact of her death on the family.
He said: "What was supposed to be a happy moment in our lives quickly changed into a traumatic and painful loss.
"Every day my children have to deal with the loss of their mother and I feel helpless when AJ asks when he can see his mother again."
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