Esther Akinsanya, a Nigerian nurse has died with coronavirus in the London hospital where she worked alongside her sister — who is now fighting for life in intensive care, the Evening Standard reports.
The pair, who lived together and worked at the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich, had been determined to continue through the pandemic. They were rushed to the hospital within hours of each other two weeks ago.
Mother-of-two Esther Akinsanya, 55, died four days later on April 15. Her sister Mary Idowu, 61, is on a ventilator in intensive care. Ms Akinsanya, a “devoted and diligent” NHS nurse for more than 20 years, had finished her last shift two days before being admitted.
Her son Samuel, 26, who lived with his mother and aunt in Thamesmead, said: “We are heartbroken. My mother lit up a room when she walked in, it was impossible not to like her.”
It is understood the sisters had been issued with personal protective equipment in line with government guidelines for those not working in intensive care units. However, there have been calls for the level of protection for staff on general wards to be raised.
The Government has said the outbreak has so far killed 69 NHS workers and 15 care workers, but there are fears the total of health worker deaths is more than 100.
Mr Akinsanya, who has a younger sister and a three-year-old son, said: “They are tough women they didn’t mention the dangers they just got on with their jobs. They both tested positive and are convinced they got it at work. These heroes like my mum and aunt need to be protected. It’s just not good enough that people on the front line are dying like this.”
Mr Akinsanya said his mother had no known underlying health issue other than high blood pressure. His aunt has a heart condition and diabetes. Mr Akinsaya said his aunt was on a ventilator and had improved slightly.
“She is responding they have lowered the sedation. She is still fighting.”
A fund for Mrs Akinsanya’s funeral and family has so far raised more than £14,000.