Call for formal recognition of nurses who die of COVID-19

Doctor wants nurses to be commemorated in the names of NHS hospital wards 

Nurse Leilani Dayrit, who has died of COVID-19

A doctor has called for NHS hospital wards to be named after nurses and other healthcare workers who have died in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trauma and orthopaedic registrar Salah Hammouche made the comments after paying tribute to his late colleague, nurse Leilani Dayrit, who was from the Philippines and worked at St Cross Hospital in Rugby.

Ms Dayrit died of suspected COVID-19 on 7 April and is one of several Filipino NHS workers to die after contracting the virus.

Dr Hammouche, who was born in Syria, said: ‘She was one of the best. She always went the extra mile to look after her patients and colleagues.

‘We all signed up to treat patients, to make them better. We did not sign up to die on the front line, but we are all happy to risk our lives to make sure this country and the world can overcome this pandemic.

‘Once the pandemic has subsided, I think it would be good to name wards or parts of NHS facilities after these people who have passed away fighting coronavirus.’

A GoFundMe page set up for Ms Dayrit's husband and daughter has raised more than £11,000 and described the nurse as an unsung hero who was dedicated to the NHS for 16 years.

Tributes have also been paid to other UK healthcare staff:

  • Melujean Ballesteros, also from the Philippines, died at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, on 12 April, two days after being admitted. Her son Rainier said his mother was 'a dedicated and very caring nurse'. 

Healthcare support worker Donna Campbell:
a kind-hearted colleague

  • Healthcare support worker Donna Campbell, who worked at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff died after testing positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson for the centre said the team was heartbroken that its 'beautiful, kind-hearted friend and colleague' had died.
  • Filipino nurse Leilani Medel, from south Wales, had worked as an agency nurse at hospitals in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Hospital Board. Rhian Eccleshare, director of nursing at Cardiff-based Hoop Recruitment, said: ‘The nursing profession has lost a warm-natured and beautiful nurse who cared for so many vulnerable people during her nursing career. Her absence will be felt and missed.’
  • Josiane Zauma Ebonja Ekoli, an agency nurse at Harrogate District Hospital in North Yorkshire, died in hospital on Monday. Ms Ekoli was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary, her former workplace, last Tuesday. Jill Foster, chief nurse at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said Ms Ekoli, known as Josie, was a ‘much-valued’ member of staff. ‘Josie will be sadly missed by all her friends and colleagues at Harrogate District Hospital.’

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