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Coronavirus: NHS worker 'let down' before death

Thomas Harvey Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Thomas Harvey's death was "an absolute tragedy", his daughter Tamira said

An NHS worker has died from coronavirus after treating patients with only gloves for protection, leaving his family feeling "let down".

Thomas Harvey collapsed on Sunday after falling ill having helped a patient who later tested positive for Covid-19.

The 57-year-old healthcare assistant's family claim with the "right" personal protective equipment (PPE) at Goodmayes Hospital, London, he may not have died.

The hospital said there were "no symptomatic patients on the ward".

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Media captionThomas Harvey's children, Tamira and Thomas Jr, say their father "just had gloves and a flimsy apron"

Mr Harvey was signed off sick from the hospital in Ilford on 11 March after developing symptoms including a cough, shortness of breath and body aches.

He had only been given gloves at work and did not have the correct PPE, according to his family and a former colleague.

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

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Thomas Harvey had worked at the Goodmayes Hospital for more than 20 years

He was told by paramedics to self-isolate, but he was not officially tested for coronavirus.

His 19-year-old daughter, Tamira, told the BBC they called 999 again a few days later but were referred back to NHS 111.

"They told us he wasn't an emergency, but he was breathing badly."

Mr Harvey collapsed in his bathroom on Sunday and died despite efforts by paramedics to resuscitate him.

Tamira said: "It's so sad. I feel like he was let down in so many ways.

"It's an absolute tragedy and he didn't deserve to lose his life in the way he did.

"If he had just had the right equipment we wouldn't be in this predicament and it wouldn't have escalated in the way it did."

'Right treatment'

She said he had been let down by the government.

"They underestimated the severity of it. Something big was coming and they didn't do their best."

Thomas Junior, 24, said his father's death could have been "prevented so easily if he had been diagnosed quicker and was given the right equipment and given the right treatment in hospital".

The hospital confirmed Mr Harvey died after contracting Covid-19.

The father-of-seven who had three grandchildren, was described by his family as a "caring, supportive and selfless man who always put others before himself".

His family said Mr Harvey did not have any underlying health conditions and had "rarely taken a sick day".

In a statement, Goodmayes Hospital said: "At the time Thomas went off sick and self-isolated there were no symptomatic patients on the ward.

"We are following national PPE guidance."

The Department of Health said: "We are working around the clock to give the NHS and the wider social care sector the equipment and support they need."

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