A pregnant nurse in the UK died from COVID-19 at the age of 28. The death is renewing concern for health care workers and their vulnerability during the crisis. The nurse, Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong died at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, in Bedfordshire England. She died at the same hospital she had worked at for five years.
While Agyapong’s death is tragic, especially for someone so young, there is some good news to report. The baby was saved by her colleagues and is “doing very well.”
On April 7, Agyapong was admitted to the hospital only two days after testing positive for the virus.
Less than a week later, on April 12, Agyapong died. Before she passed, she gave birth to her daughter via an emergency c-section, ITV reports.
David Carter, chief executive of Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said that Agyapong was a “fantastic nurse and a great example of what we stand for in this trust.”
“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Mary’s family and friends at this sad time,” he told the BBC.
Agyapong is survived by her husband, AJ. He’s been tested for the virus and has self-isolated at home while he awaits the results.
A hospital spokesperson said Agyapong’s “child was doing very well.”
While Agyapong’s baby is said to be in good health, the hospital has provided no information if the baby has tested positive for COVID-19. There’s been no definitive proof that mothers pass on the virus in utero.
In a study, nine women who tested positive with the virus did not pass along the virus to their babies. The virus was also not present in the amniotic fluid or breast milk. A larger study of 38 pregnant women also found that none had passed the virus onto their babies.
Because of the limited number of studies and their small scales, hospitals are taking extra precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus from infected mothers. Many moms have been quarantined from their newborns if they test positive for the virus. Further, hospitals have revised visitor and birthing partner policies.
Nurse Agyapong is mourned by family, friends, colleagues, and strangers who have been touched by her story.
“It is with a heavy heart to announce that our beloved sister, aunty, wife, mother, work colleague and friend Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong (Mary Mo) has sadly left us to be with the Lord,” a GoFundMe page set up in her honor reads. “Mary was a blessing to everyone she came across and her love, care and sincerity will be irreplaceable.”
A fundraising page was set up to raise funds to cover funeral costs and to support AJ and his daughter who has been named Mary, after her late mother.
“It is humane for us to take care of them in every way we can during this heavy and trying time,” the page continued. “The funds raised would be a starting point to support them financially by setting up a Trust Fund for her children. And any amount you are led to contribute within your capacity will be greatly appreciated to support the family as she would have reached out to anyone in need without hesitation.”
The GoFundMe campaign has surpassed its goal, raising 100 times more than hoped.
The fundraising goal was established to raise £2,000. At the time of writing, the page has raised £187,119, almost 100 times the goal.
Although the outpouring of generosity speaks to Agyapong’s standing in her community and her character, no amount of money will return her.
“Sister Mary was my colleague. I worked alongside her for a few years,” Renai Mcinerney wrote. “She deserves her family to be looked after, after she devoted her life to the NHS as a nurse. It’s time to look out/after our own and return the selflessness persona Mary carried and give something so small, but so big to her family in this time of need. RIP sister Mary!”
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