A doctor in the UK who died of Covid-19 had reportedly pleaded with his hospital to provide protective equipment (PPE) in the days before he caught the disease.
Dr Peter Tun died aged 62 at his own workplace, the Royal Berkshire Hospital, on April 13 after testing positive for the coronavirus a week earlier.
The Guardian reports that on March 23 he sent emails to hospital managers pleading for protective equipment, but was told that with PPE in short supply his neuro-rehabilitation ward ranked lower than others that also needed protective kit.
Dr Tun was told his team could not even have surgical masks, since there were no suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 in his ward, even though two members of his team were self-isolating.
In one email, published by The Guardian, Dr Tun said: “We do not have any basic surgical masks for Caversham ward neuro-rehab medical team. The ward stock has been taken by ICU (intensive care), according to a staff nurse … we do not have eye protection kits, gowns nor scrubs.”
One manager had emailed back to refuse his requests, saying: “These supplies are not widely available and need to be used sensibly… this is the Trust position at the moment and I do not have any powers to influence this.”
Another emailed reply from management spelled out Dr Tun’s ward did not require PPE as it did not have any confirmed Covid-19 patients.
Dr Tun’s son Michael told the newspaper: “When a doctor of 40 years’ experience has to literally beg for surgical masks, and it is denied, something has gone seriously wrong.”
While not blaming the hospital for nationwide shortages of PPE, he added: “I think my dad’s death was avoidable and that probability would have been reduced if he had had proper personal protective equipment.”