Nurse, 28, who died of coronavirus at 35 weeks pregnant should not have been working in third trimester, husband says

THE husband of a pregnant nurse who died of coronavirus says she shouldn't have been working in her third trimester.

Tragic Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong died on April 12 this year at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, where she worked.

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Her daughter, also named Mary, was safely delivered by caesarean section at 35 weeks before the mum's death.

The 28-year-old's widower Ernest Boateng previously said his wife, originally from Ghana, should not have been working at the hospital at the start of the pandemic as she had entered the third trimester.

She had been told by the hospital that it didn't have any coronavirus patients on the wards before she took maternity leave.

Mr Boateng also said that after his wife's death, he received a call from a union rep who said he had previously met Mrs Agyapong on a ward.

The rep is said to have told her: “Mary, it’s not safe – you need to get out of here.”

However, Mr Boateng said his wife, who was also the mum of a two-year-old boy, felt unable to leave, telling the BBC: "She said she couldn’t help it.

"She was helpless."

A coroner held a pre-inquest review into Mrs Agyapong's death this afternoon – and said she wants to know more about the hospital's maternity leave policy.


During the hearing, Mr Boateng's lawyer Martin Forde QC told Bedfordshire Senior Coroner Emma Whitting the nurse had suffered a “difficult pregnancy".

She was admitted to hospital and discharged on April 5, before being readmitted just two days later with coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Forde said the widower is to give a statement about his wife's condition – and the inquest will need to hear from the medic who initially discharged her, as well as her senior colleagues.

Ms Whitting old Mr Boateng: "I want to start by expressing my condolences for the loss of Mary.

"I have seen pictures of her and read a little bit about her in the press, and I can only imagine what a hole she's left in your life and the lives of your family members and her colleagues."

The coroner added: "I would need to hear from someone in management to hear how maternity leave is organised."

The cause of death was recorded as pneumonia, with coronavirus and caesarean section as contributing factors.

David Carter, the chief executive of the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, described her as a “fantastic nurse and a great example of what we stand for in this trust.”

Mrs Agyapong's death followed that of 55-year-old consultant Amged El-Hawrani, who became the first frontline NHS hospital worker to die on March 28 after testing positive for coronavirus.

The full inquest is listed for four days next March.

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