Coronavirus claims the lives of five more healthcare workers

A nurse who died just days after her husband, a ‘compassionate’ mental health counsellor and a ‘totally dedicated’ paramedic are among the five healthcare workers to have died after catching coronavirus.

Thousands of healthcare workers are heading to the frontline of the pandemic every day, with many coming out of retirement or being transferred to pop-up Covid-19 hospitals. But sadly, the number of NHS and care workers who have died from the virus has now surpassed 100, according to NursingNotes, although the government’s figure is much lower.

Among the most recent deaths includes a ‘highly thought of’ nurse who died just days after her partner passed. The couple had recently become grandparents. Auxiliary nurse, Sharon Bamford, 63, who worked on the haematology/oncology ward at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital passed away in intensive care on Tuesday, after testing positive for the virus.

Her death came days after her husband Malcom Bamford, 73, died, having also contracted the virus. They leave behind two sons Craig and Christian, who was also in hospital with Covid-19 but has since been discharged.

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In a tribute to Sharon, director of Singleton Hospital, Jan Worthing, said: ‘Sharon was highly thought of by all the patients who have used the services and loved by her colleagues and friends within the team.

‘Sharon’s sad death will leave a massive void within the team and within the Singleton family.

‘Our thoughts and condolences are obviously with their sons Craig and Chris at this devastating time, with the loss of both Sharon and Malcolm. We offer our most sincere condolences to Sharon’s family, friends and colleagues at this extremely sad time.’

The health board is now offering dedicated support to Sharon’s colleagues as they try to come to terms with her passing.

Meanwhile, tributes have flooded in for an ‘always smiling’ matchday paramedic, who died earlier this week after contracting Covid-19.

Ian Reynolds, 53, worked as a paramedic for 32 years, and for the last eight had been working as a member of the Selhurst Park pitch-side medical team. He is survived by his wife and two sons, one of whom, Jack, also works as a member of the Crystal Palace stretcher crew.

Crystal Palace Football Club paid tribute to him and said he was a ‘much-loved colleague’ and friend.

Colleague Dr Amir Pakravan said: ‘As a person, he was the best friend you could wish for, always smiling, calm and easy-going and an avid Palace fan.

‘As a colleague, he was extremely professional, reliable, approachable, highly experienced and knowledgeable, and always ready to help. He was the complete package and an absolute joy to work with.’

Dr Pakravan said: ‘Our pitch-side medical team will not be the same without Ian. The thoughts of everyone at Crystal Palace FC are with his family and friends. Rest in peace, Ian.’

Mr Reynolds had worked at New Addington, where he also served as an active Unison rep, as well the principal liaison between the London Ambulance Service and all the Croydon care homes.

A spokesperson for the union said he embodied all their values: ‘A wise, experienced and popular man who had time for everybody and could relate to his colleagues, members and patients alike – regardless of their background or identity – with an ease that endeared him to everyone he came across’.

They said they ‘don’t make them like Ian anymore’, who was always ‘there for you with wise words and irrelevant jokes in equal measure, adding that he will be ‘deeply missed’.

Another paramedic who was ‘totally dedicated’ to his job has lost also lost his life to coronavirus. Charlie Goodwin, 61, who worked as an ambulance driver for First 4 Care for more than 20 years, died on Monday.

He was rushed to King’s Mill Hospital with breathing difficulties on April 8 and tested positive for the virus, before being admitted to intensive care. But after 11 ‘extremely difficult days’ he passed away, his wife of 26 years, Julie, said.

Mr Goodwin leaves behind three children Catherine, 26 and Sarah, 32, and Daniel, 25, who said his dad was a ‘man who gave 110 per cent to his job and family’.

Julie said her husband was ‘very kind’, adding: ‘He was totally dedicated to his job. He loved the job and he wanted to get straight out there [during the pandemic].

‘I have had so many messages from his colleagues. He was so well thought of at work.’

She added: ‘We could not go to hospital and I could not go with him to hospital and we cannot even go and see him in the chapel of rest. We can only have 15 people at his funeral. It has been really hard. It’s terrible. But I’ve got a really good family and good friends. I just want to tell people to stay in and stop being stupid.’

Jonathan Lightbody, managing director for First 4 Care, heaped praise on Mr Goodwin, saying he was ‘enormously respected’ and a ‘true gentleman who gave everything’ and ‘always with a cheeky smile’.

He added: ‘Charlie was a positive influence on many and colleagues couldn’t help but be inspired by Charlie’s work ethic and dedication. I wish we had a team of Charlies but of course we can’t… Charlie was uniquely Charlie’.

Coronavirus has claimed the life of the UK’s fifth GP, Dr Yusuf Patel, 61, who had returned to the frontline after recovering from pancreatic cancer.

The GP, who founded the Woodgrange Medical Practice in Woodgrange Road, Forest Gate, east London, died on Monday.

Dr Patel, who was described as a ‘pioneer’ was of Gujarati heritage and came to the UK as a child from Malawi. He qualified from Sheffield Medical School in 1984, before going on to complete his GP training in Blackburn.

The practice said in a statement: ‘It is with a very heavy heart that we have to inform you of the sad loss of Dr Yusuf Ismail Patel GP principal and founder of Woodgrange NHS Medical Practice. 

‘After a valiant struggle with Covid, Dr Patel finally succumbed to his illness on Monday the 20th of April. 

‘This is a tragic loss to all his family, friends, colleagues and patients. The pain is immeasurable. He has touched and enriched many lives and we miss him dearly.’

Meanwhile, tributes have been paid to mental health counsellor Ann Shepherd, who who worked at the Moir Medical Centre in Long Eaton, in Derbyshire, for 26 years.

The 80-year-old, who had underlying health conditions, died in hospital earlier this week after contracting the virus, said the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Her colleagues said her ‘support for other members of the practice team and her contribution to life within the practice was outstanding,’ adding that ‘she could always be relied upon for honest and compassionate advice for patients and staff’.

Trust chief executive Ifti Majid said: ‘Ann was a wonderful colleague, held in very high esteem by all she worked with. She was truly devoted to her work and her patients and was inspirational in her field. She was also a phenomenal character, full of colour and sparkle.

‘Ann always made time for members of her team. I understand that even after her provisional diagnosis of Covid-19, Ann would call to check if colleagues were OK and if they need any support.

‘Ann was a true professional, who touched the lives of many. She made a tremendous difference to a lot of people’s lives and she was highly respected by patients and colleagues alike.

‘Ann is a very sad loss to the trust and those she worked alongside at Moir Medical Centre. My thoughts are with Ann’s family, her many friends and colleagues at this very sad time.’

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