Nurse, 84, who was still working night shifts dies from coronavirus

Tragedy as 84-year-old nurse who left retirement to work night shifts for NHS dies of coronavirus

  • Margaret Tapley joins a growing list of frontline staff who killed by Covid-19
  • Her heartbroken family paid tribute to their ‘hard working and caring’ grandma  
  • The government is facing mountain criticism to provide more PPE for staff 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

An 84-year-old NHS nurse who was still working night shifts has become the latest frontcare health worker to die from coronavirus.

Margaret Tapley passed away last night after catching the killer bug, according to a post shared by her devastated family on social media and reported by The Sun.

She becomes another name in a growing list of frontcare health workers who have died from Covid-19, with at least 61 dead. 

Many had come out of retirement to help hospitals struggling to cope with the country’s overwhelming and unprecedented coronavirus hospital admissions.

Margaret’s heartbroken granddaughter said her grandma was like ‘an additional parent’

Granddaughter Hannah Tapley posted an emotional tribute on social media. 

She wrote: ‘Unfortunately, last night my grandma passed away from COVID-19. She was 84 and the strongest woman I’ve ever met in my life. 

‘I considered her as an additional parent and I’d never be able to do anything I have done without her. I am so proud to call her my grandma. She was the most hard working, caring and perfect woman out there. Devoting her life to others and working for the NHS doing night shifts as a nurse at her age.

‘So many people will have such amazing memories of her as she affected so many people’s lives in such a positive way.

‘One of my many favourites will be how excited she always got when we saw each other and the messages she would send me before every competition to motivate or calm me down.

‘Everyday she would text and phone me sometimes talking about the most random things and I will miss this extremely. She was one of my biggest fans and would support me through everything.

‘I’m not quite sure how to adapt to this but I know she will be watching everything and supporting myself and all my family just in a different place.

‘She will never ever EVER be forgotten. We all loved her so much and she will be extremely missed. There won’t be a day that goes by that we all won’t miss her.’

Nurses and doctors have been advised to wear ‘non-fluid repellant coveralls’ with aprons and to wash their forearms after work. Nurse pictured at MOT testing centre in Northern Ireland

The Sun reported that another one of Margaret’s grandchildren, Tom Wood who is also a nurse, said: ‘She was a huge reason as to why I am a nurse today. She took huge pride in her work but was so humble. She embodied the nursing spirit.

For anyone who worked with her or knew her, that spirit that we all saw and felt lives on in us.

‘Grandma may have been called home in what feels all too early for us left behind but the values, spirit and giving nature that she brought to the world is carried on in us that we’re touched by her life.’

Fashion-Enter in Haringey, London, has started sewing together medical clothes for NHS workers to help combat shortages during the coronavirus outbreak

The government has faced growing criticism in recent days after it was revealed NHS frontlist staff have been told to ‘wear aprons’ to treat patients and reuse PPE with supplies at some hospitals due expected to run out by the end of the weekend.

The guidance, compiled by Public Health England, was issued in response to ‘acute shortages of PPE’. It said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had approved reusing items and ‘sessional’ use – where one health care worker uses the same PPE for a whole shift. It said that even though items were designed for single use, ‘HSE recognises that some compromise is needed to optimise the supply of PPE in times of extreme shortages’. 

On Friday the Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons health select commitee: ‘The challenge of getting protective equipment out to everybody who needs it is an incredibly difficult one. As of this weekend we will have shipped one billion items of personal protective equipment across the UK. I take responsibility for getting PPE out to everyone.’

Asked if he would get gowns to those who needed them this weekend he said: ‘That is what we are aiming to do.’


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