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‘We will never forget her’ – tributes to nurse killed by coronavirus

Fury at protective equipment failures as 60-year-old who worked at Paddington hospital becomes victim of outbreak

17 April, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Nurse Melujean Ballesteros, who had worked at St Mary’s Hospital since 2002

A NURSE at St Mary’s Hospital has died from coronavirus amid fury at the government’s protective equipment supply and testing failures.

Melujean Ballesteros, 60, died on Monday in the Paddington hospital where she had worked for the past 18 years.

Originally from the Philippines, Ms Ballesteros developed a fever and cough in mid-March before her condition worsened.

She died two days after being admitted to the intensive care unit and leaves behind two sons and husband Luis.

While many hospitals are reporting that personal protective equipment (PPE) is now readily available, there was a severe shortage of basic kit and protective gear throughout March at the time Ms Ballesteros contracted the virus.

There have also been reports of exhausted medics cutting up hospital curtains for gowns, using swimming goggles instead of visors and tying rubbish bags around bodies and mouths.

A statement from Dr Chaand Nagpaul, who is the chairman of the British Medical Association, said: “It is absurd that the people trained to treat this disease are the ones who are not being appropriately protected and without them we face real disaster.”

Nurse Faz Ghooloo, a friend and colleague of Ms Ballesteros, said: “We say goodbye to her today but we will never forget about her.”

A statement from the hospital said: “We are very sad to confirm the death of one of our nurses, Melujean Ballesteros, who worked at St Mary’s Hospital from 2002.

“Melujean was well known across the hospital for her kindness and compassion.

“She made a big impact on the lives of her colleagues as well as her patients.

“She will be greatly missed.”

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