Black Nurse In UK Dies Of Coronavirus Days After Giving Birth To Baby Daughter
Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong tested positive for COVID-19 on April 5 and died on April 12.
April 17, 2020 at 7:40 pm
The family of 28-year-old Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong is in mourning after the well-regarded nurse died of complications related to COVID-19 on April 12 in Luton, England, the BBC reported.
Agyapong was pregnant when she tested positive for the coronavirus on April 5 and was admitted to Luton and Dunstable University Hospital on April 7, where she spent five years as a beloved nurse and avid advocate for the National Health Service.
Doctors performed a C-section on her and delivered her daughter, Mary, before Agyapong passed away on Sunday, The Guardian reported.
It is with great sadness we announce that yet another member of our nursing family, Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, has sadly died from COVID-19. She is survived by her newborn daughter. pic.twitter.com/PvZHMpRzBj— NursingNotes (@NursingNotesUK) April 15, 2020
"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. Mary was a blessing to everyone she came across and her love, care and sincerity will be irreplaceable," Agyapong's family wrote on a GoFundMe page they created to gather donations for her husband and daughter.
"I am raising this funds for her immediate family; her husband, AJ and her baby girl little Mary, who was born at the time of her demise. It is humane for us to take care of them in every way we can during this heavy and trying time. 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," they added.
The GoFundMe campaign has far exceeded its goal of £2,000, bringing in more than £160,000 from about 9,000 donors.
The page is littered with comments from people across the world and former colleagues who lauded Agyapong for her commitment to the nursing profession and her hard work at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital over the last five years.
"Sister Mary was my colleague, I worked alongside her for a few years. 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!" wrote Renai Mcinerney.
In an interview with the BBC, David Carter, chief executive of Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, called Agyapong 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 added.
Hospital officials told The Guardian that Agyapong worked her final shift at the hospital on March 12. Her death has highlighted the fear thousands of nurses across the world have about contracting COVID-19 while on the job. Agyapong's passing also reinforced concerns many pregnant nurses and doctors have about working through their pregnancy.
Joeli Brearley, founder and director of Pregnant Then Screwed, told The Guardian that her group and others were working to get the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to change the current rules that say women can work until they are 28 weeks pregnant.
“These women are really scared. Because this is being phrased as a woman’s choice, it is causing serious anxiety to women who don’t want to go to work but are being made to feel like they don’t want to help out during this crisis,” said Brearley.
More than 50,000 people have signed a wide-ranging petition from doctors and nurses demanding the British government enact more standardized rules across the country's healthcare system, give nurses the ability to work remotely and offer paid leave.
The situation facing pregnant nurses is acutely problematic for Black women. Despite advances in maternal health, studies have shown that Black women continue to die at higher rates than any other race in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
A 2018 survey from the UK's Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme found that Black women are five times more likely to die during childbirth compared to white women.
Agyapong's family wrote on the GoFundMe page that the money will help them deal with the tragedy and provide for her newborn daughter. Agyapong's husband is currently self-quarantining after being tested for COVID-19, according to the BBC.
"May those who have settled in Heaven welcome you home, to a better resting place. You will forever be in our hearts Mary. Your memories are still with us and we will cherish them forever until we meet again. We will forever miss you," Agyapong's family wrote.