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A pregnant nurse admitted to hospital with severe breathing difficulties less than a week before she died with coronavirus was not considered by a senior medic to be suffering from the disease, an inquest has heard.
Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, 28, was taken to the emergency department of Luton and Dunstable hospital on 7 April last year, where she worked, after her physical condition worsened.
Two days earlier, she had sought medical advice for her condition but was discharged with a course of antibiotics – a decision the inquest has heard she was unhappy about given she was so poorly with breathlessness and fatigue.
Agyapong gave birth to a daughter by caesarean section hours after her second admission to hospital, at nearly 36 weeks’ pregnant, but died in intensive care on 12 April.
Giving evidence at her inquest at Bedfordshire and Luton coroner’s court on Wednesday, hospital staff described how Agyapong had a cough, a typical Covid-19 symptom, on 7 April, but that consultant anaesthetist Dr Mojoyinola Brackin was not convinced that she was infected.
Midwife Michelle Mulvey, who began her shift hours after Agyapong was admitted to hospital, said: “From memory, I believe Dr Brackin wasn’t convinced it was Covid because she [Agyapong] was only requiring two litres of oxygen.
“Remember, Covid at that stage … none of us had as much understanding as we do now. She [Dr Brackin] didn’t feel her symptoms were typical of Covid at the time. She believed Covid patients required a lot more oxygen than Mary did.”
Consultant obstetrician Dr Jodie Lam, who also saw Agyapong on 7 April, added: “In my mind, I was thinking Mary definitely had Covid. The impression I got was that Dr Brackin didn’t think it fitted with what she had seen so far, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t Covid.”
Brackin has yet to give evidence to the inquest.
The inquest has previously heard that Dr William Manning suspected Agyapong had Covid-19 when he saw her on 5 April but told her she should leave the emergency department of the hospital because she did not require oxygen.
Agyapong’s family have flagged concerns that she was worried about working at the hospital during her third trimester, and said she felt under pressure to attend.
The specialist diabetes nurse, who was originally from Ghana, was signed off sick from 13 March before starting annual leave ahead of her planned maternity leave.
Her husband, Ernest Boateng, has previously spoken about the grief of losing his wife and his campaign to find answers. He wrote to Boris Johnson last year urging him to make it a legal requirement for employers to allow all pregnant women who pass 20 weeks gestation to work from home or be suspended on full pay.
The inquest continues.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Medic did not think pregnant nurse had Covid, inquest hears | Coronavirus