Coronavirus: Remembering the NHS workers who have died

Image showing the faces of some of those who died

A midwife originally from Hong Kong. A hospital cleaner who became a nurse. A retired village GP who carried on caring for his former patients.

Thousands of people in the UK have now died with coronavirus, including doctors, nurses, surgeons and other NHS workers.

The government has said 19 NHS workers have died so far, with doctors who came out of retirement among those who have lost their lives.

Here are some of the stories of those who have died.

Gareth Roberts

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Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

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Mr Roberts worked as a nurse in the Cardiff and Vale health board area

A grandfather, Gareth Roberts had worked as a nurse at sites across the Cardiff and Vale health board since the 1980s. He had retired in December 2014 before returning to work in January 2015.

He was “extremely popular, fun-filled and well-liked”, the board said while staff said he was a “kind and helpful person”.

Mr Roberts died at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

Julie Omar, 52

Julie Omar had been working as a sister on Ward 14 at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, and had also previously worked with the trauma team at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

She was a “much-loved member” of its nursing team, said the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, and a “dedicated and highly experienced trauma and orthopaedics nurse“.

She died at home on 10 April, and leaves a husband, Laith, and a grown-up daughter.

Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53

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Golam Rahat Khan/PA Media

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Dr Chowdhury was described by family and friends as “compassionate” and “so caring”

A married father-of-two, Dr Chowdhury was a consultant urologist at Homerton University Hospital, in east London.

His son Intisar described the consultant urologist as a “kind and compassionate hero” who had been in “such pain” when he wrote an appeal to the government on Facebook, warning about a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS workers.

“He wrote that post while he was in that state, just because of how much he cared about his co-workers,” his son said.

Family friend and fellow doctor Golam Rahat Khan said Dr Chowdhury liked singing, and enjoyed celebrating Bengali and English culture and heritage.

“He was so caring, he would call us very often to come to his house,” he added.

Dr Chowdhury died on 8 April.

Dr Edmond Adedeji, 62

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Family handout

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Dr Adedeji was a father-of-three and also had three grandchildren

Dr Edmond Adedeji worked as a locum registrar in the emergency department of Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Wiltshire.

“He died doing a job he loved, serving others before himself,” his family said in a statement.

The hospital’s chief executive added he was a “respected and well-liked member of the team”.

Dr Adedeji died on 8 April.

Alice Kit Tak Ong, 70

Ms Ong “loved her job”, her daughter Melissa told the PA news agency.

She said her mother came to London from Hong Kong in the 1970s to join the NHS “because she believed it was the best in the world”.

Ms Ong began her career as a midwife and was working full-time at two surgeries and holding baby clinics before falling ill.

She died on 7 April.

Leilani Dayrit, 47

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Leilani Dayrit was based at St Cross Hospital in Rugby

Sister Leilani Dayrit died of suspected coronavirus after displaying symptoms at work, her daughter has said.

Mary Dayrit, 19, said her mother had been “selfless until the very end” and “put other people’s wellbeing before her own”.

She had asthma, and had been self-isolating at home for seven days before she died on 7 April. She had stopped breathing and paramedics were unable to revive her.

Mary said her mother was a compassionate woman who “made sure to spread joy, happiness and love to anyone that ever needed it.”

Janice Graham, 58

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Graham family

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Ms Graham was remembered by colleagues for her “kindness and compassion”

Ms Graham was the first NHS worker in Scotland to die from coronavirus.

“My Mum was there for me no matter what. I will miss everything about her,” her son told STV News.

A healthcare support worker and district nurse, Ms Graham died at Inverclyde Royal Hospital on 6 April.

Dr Syed Zishan Haider, 79

“Our father was a selfless and compassionate doctor for over 50 years,” Dr Haider’s daughter told the BBC after the death of the GP, who served as a senior partner at Valance Medical Centre, in Dagenham, east London.

“His dedication to help people everywhere, be it professionally or personally was unwavering.

“We are truly astounded as to how many people have reached out to share a story of his kindness, and continue to receive touching tributes from colleagues, patients, friends and family alike,” Samina Haider said.

Dr Haider, who died on 6 April, also worked for more than 30 years as a senior homeopathic physician at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.

Aimee O’Rourke, 39

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Nurse and mother-of-three Ms O’Rourke died at the hospital where she worked

Ms O’Rourke was “such a kind and caring nurse” who had “a really special relationship with her patients and colleagues”, said the ward manager of the acute medical unit she worked in.

“Nursing was something she had always wanted to do, although she came to it relatively late after raising her girls.”

The 39-year-old died at the hospital where she worked – the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, in Margate, Kent – on 2 April.

Areema Nasreen, 36

Ms Nasreen worked as a hospital cleaner before gaining her nursing qualification in 2019.

She died on 2 April at Walsall Manor Hospital, in the West Midlands – the hospital she had worked at for 16 years.

“We’ve lost an amazing nurse, but we’ve lost also an amazing person in life,” her sister Kazeema Nasreen said.

The chief executive of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said Ms Nasreen “always said she was so blessed to have the role of a nurse, which she absolutely loved because she wanted to feel like she could make a difference – and you did, Areema, you will be very sadly missed.”

Lynsay Coventry, 54

The grandmother “followed her dream” and trained as a midwife in later life, her family said in a statement.

“She was a very well-respected midwife who supported many hundreds of women as they welcomed their babies into the world,” they added.

Ms Coventry had worked at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, in Harlow, Essex, for 10 years. She died on 2 April.

Pooja Sharma

Ms Sharma, who worked as a pharmacist at Eastbourne District General Hospital, was the “superstar of the family”, her brother said.

“Her irresistible laugh, sense of humour and good nature would light up our world and fill it with colours. For this I am eternally grateful that Pooja was my sister.

“For me, Pooja would always be the little protector or shield for when I had done something mischievous and she would cover for me with my parents.”

Dr Fayez Ayache, 76

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East Anglian Daily Times

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Dr Ayache’s daughter said he was “the most dedicated GP”

Dr Ayache stopped working a month before he died, but his family say they think he continued to visit patients in their homes in an effort to help.

The retired GP, who worked for the NHS in Suffolk for more than 40 years, “would often pop round and just check [former patients] were OK”, his daughter Layla Ayache said.

“He was a rural village GP at heart,” she added.

He had also helped to raise money for refugee charities to help people in Syria, where he was born.

Ms Ayache said her father’s “entire life was split between his family and his work”, adding: “That was all he lived for really, was those two things.”

He died on 8 April.

Jitendra Rathod, 62

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Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

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Former colleagues of Dr Rathod said he was a “talented, skilled and kind clinician”

Father-of-two Jitendra Rathod was a “dearly loved” specialist heart surgeon at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he spent 25 years.

The health board’s chief executive said he was a “great” surgeon who would be missed by his colleagues.

Mr Rathod died in the intensive care ward at the hospital on 6 April.

Rebecca Mack, 29

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Sara Bredin-Kemp

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A friend said Ms Mack was “one of a kind”

The nurse had worked in the children’s cancer unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary before taking up other roles in the health sector.

“She was a devoted friend, an incredible nurse and an unapologetically imperfect person,” one of her friends said in a Facebook post.

Ms Mack was not believed to have been directly dealing with patients before becoming ill.

She died on 5 April.

Glen Corbin, 59

A healthcare assistant, Mr Corbin worked at the Park Royal Centre for Mental Health, in north-west London, for more than 25 years.

“He was the ‘go to’ person who knew everything about the ward and how to get things done,” said Claire Murdoch, head of the local NHS trust, adding he was the “backbone” of his team.

Mr Corbin died on 4 April.

Dr Anton Sebastianpillai

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Kingston Hospital

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MP Ed Davey said he’d been “privileged” to meet Dr Sebastianpillai to discuss the health service as well as Tamil history

A published historian, Dr Sebastianpillai trained at a medical school in Sri Lanka and went on to specialise in treating elderly people at Kingston Hospital in south-west London.

He was “hugely respected as a consultant and author”, Ed Davey, acting Lib Dem leader, said.

He described the consultant geriatrician’s book, A Complete Illustrated History of Sri Lanka, as “world class”.

Dr Sebastianpillai, who was in his 70s, died on 4 April.

Liz Glanister, 68

Ms Glanister was a “long-serving” nurse at the Aintree University Hospital, in Liverpool.

“We are so proud to see just how many people’s lives Liz has touched,” her family said in a statement.

“Losing a loved one at any time is heartbreaking, but to go through it as we and many other families are is simply beyond words.”

Ms Glanister – pictured centre, below – died on 3 April at Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

Prof Sami Shousha, 79

Prof Shousha was an honorary professor of histopathology at Imperial College London, and had worked at UK cancer research laboratories at London’s Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals since 1978.

He died on 2 April.

Dr Alfa Saadu, 68

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Dr Saadu’s family said he had worked for the NHS for nearly 40 years, at various London hospitals

“Living legend” Dr Alfa Saadu, who had returned to work after retirement, died in hospital on 31 March.

His family said he had been working part-time at the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, before contracting the virus.

His son Dani Saadu said the family suggested he should go to hospital, but his father insisted he “did not want to take up a hospital bed because others would need it”.

Mr Saadu added: “He was a very passionate man, who cared about saving people… he loved to lecture people in the world of medicine, he did so in the UK and Africa.”

Thomas Harvey, 57

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A colleague said Mr Harvey had contracted the virus at work after treating a patient who later tested positive

Father-of-seven Thomas Harvey, 57, was a healthcare assistant at Goodmayes Hospital in Ilford, east London.

His family criticised the NHS for the lack of personal protective equipment provided to staff, saying he “just had gloves and a flimsy apron”.

He died at home on 29 March, after feeling unwell for several days.

Amged El-Hawrani

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Family photo

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Amged El-Hawrani’s family thanked his NHS colleagues for working “tirelessly” to save him

An ear, nose and throat consultant at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, Mr El-Hawrani’s family said he was “a loving and much-loved husband, son, father, brother, and friend”.

“His greatest passions were his family and his profession, and he dedicated his life to both,” they said.

Mr El-Hawrani died at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester on 28 March.

Dr Habib Zaidi, 76

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NHS Southend CCG

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Dr Zaidi had worked as a GP in Leigh-on-Sea for more than 47 years

Dr Zaidi was a managing partner of a GP practice with his wife Dr Talat Zaidi. Their four children all work in the medical profession.

His daughter, Dr Sarah Zaidi, said his death was “reflective of his sacrifice” and he had a “vocational attitude to service”.

His colleague Dr Jose Garcia-Lobera said he had left behind an “incredible legacy” and was “a hugely respected, selfless man who dedicated his life to helping others”.

Dr Zaidi died in intensive care at Southend Hospital, Essex, on 25 March.

Adil El Tayar, 63

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Adil El Tayar had worked in Saudi Arabia and Sudan – as well as at St Mary’s and St George’s hospitals in London

Renowned surgeon Dr El Tayar worked in the NHS for 11 years before moving back to his native Sudan to help establish a transplant programme.

He returned to the UK in 2015, working as a locum surgeon before his death.

He gave the “precious gift of life to so many people around the world”, fellow surgeon Abbas Ghazanfar wrote in a tribute.

“He was an excellent colleague, a truly humble soul and above all a noble human being.”

He died at West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth, west London, on 25 March.

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