Doctor vows ‘no coronavirus patient will die alone in hospital, we will be holding their hands’ – The Sun

A DOCTOR has vowed that "no coronavirus patient will die alone" in hospital – as staff will be there to hold their hands in their final moments.

It comes after heartbroken family members of Covid-19 patients admit they were unable to say their goodbyes to their loved ones because the disease is so contagious.

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One of them includes the family of Britain's youngest coronavirus victim – 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who died alone at King's College Hospital in London on Monday.

But Dr Alison Pittard has assured the public that no one will die alone – even if loved ones can't be there – as her brave NHS colleagues will be by their side.

The consultant, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, told Sky News it was "heartbreaking for families and heartbreaking for staff as well".


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She said: "One of the things we can try and do when someone dies in intensive care is to make sure their family are around them.

"There have been reports that patients have been dying alone and I would like to reassure the public that no person will die in hospital alone.

"They may not have their loved ones next to them but they will have healthcare workers; doctors, nurses and other members of staff who will be by the patient's side holding their hand and making sure that they're not alone when they die."


She also shared her concerns about a shortage of critical care beds – or enough staff to look after patients.

Dr Pittard said: "It's absolutely vital that we still try and deliver safe care.

"So yes, staff are having to work in strange environments, they're having to work in new shift patterns and they're also having to deliver care in a very different way.

"We normally do one-to-one nurse-to-patient ratios but we are having to stretch that as you say to six patients to one nurse.

We have no idea if we will manage the peak or not – obviously we will do our absolute best

"We are going to do our best to make sure it's as safe as possible.

"But obviously working in these unusual circumstances will be extremely stressful for staff and we need to make sure we look after their health and well-being so they can work through this pandemic.

"We have no idea if we will manage the peak or not – obviously we will do our absolute best.

"The most important thing that will have handle on if we can manage the peak or not is making sure that peak is as low as possible and falls below our capacity."

Her comments come as the Health Secretary warned that the virus is expected to peak in the UK in the next few weeks.

Matt Hancock, who today opened the new NHS Nightingale Hospital, said: "It's very, very sensitive to how many people follow the social distancing guidelines."

He said there are around 35,000 front-line NHS staff who are not currently in work due to coronavirus, but he added the testing figures for health staff "should" rise to thousands a day in the next few weeks.

On Thursday, the Cabinet minister pledged England would hit 100,000 tests per day by the end of the month following widespread criticism of the Government's testing strategy.

Mr Hancock said the goal could include antigen tests, which tell people whether they currently have Covid-19, as well as antibody tests to see whether people have previously had the infection.

A version of the latter has yet to be approved for use in the UK but several are undergoing rigorous testing.

Mr Hancock said the commitment to get to 250,000 tests a day – as set out by Boris Johnson – "still stands" but he had wanted to "put a very clear timeline" on the goal to get to 100,000 by the end of the month.

On Friday, he said currently no antibody tests have been "pencilled in" as part of the 100,000 figure, and said it was likely most of the target would be made up of the diagnostic swab tests.

Mr Hancock said it is "frustrating" the first antibody tests to undergo testing have not worked, but more are coming, with many produced in China and some domestically.

"Money is no object here, what matters is getting the country out of this situation as quickly as possible," he said, insisting testing is an important tool when looking to ease the lockdown.

So far, 163,194 people in the UK have been tested for Covid-19 – roughly 0.2% of the population. Some 2,921 people have died in hospital.

It comes as the Johns Hopkins University in the US, which is tracking the global picture, said Covid-19 cases have now passed one million across the world.

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