A 23-year-old Filipino English National Health Service (NHS) nurse died while fighting on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.
John Alagos had fallen ill during a 12-hour shift at Watford General Hospital and was allegedly not allowed to leave the hospital due to short-staffing, according to the Daily Mail.
He collapsed and died at home after the exhausting shift on April 3.
Gina Gustilo, Alagos’ 50-year-old mother, told the publication he was not wearing the proper protective clothing at work. When he returned home, he reportedly complained of a headache and high temperature throughout the night.
“I asked ‘Why didn’t you come home?’ He said he had asked other staff but they said they were short of staff and they did not let him go. I said, ‘OK, take some paracetamol.’ After a few minutes, I found him turning blue in his bed,” the mother said.
His mother called the emergency hotline, but paramedics were not able to resuscitate Alagos.
Alagos was reportedly treating COVID-19 patients at the hospital that declared a “critical incident” on April 3 and had to shut down its A&E department after they encountered a problem with its oxygen supplies.
Gustilo was told by Alagos’ colleagues that he was not wearing proper protective clothing at the time of his shift.
“They wear PPE, but not totally protective of the mouth. They wear the normal masks,” she said.
Alagos, who did not have any underlying condition, was born in the Philippines, but moved to Britain at a young age and became a British citizen.
In a statement, Tracey Carter, chief nurse at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the staff was briefed on the symptoms of COVID-19 and that they would never expect anyone to come to work if they were showing symptoms or unwell, Watford Observer reported.
“We have always kept our staff updated on the latest PPE guidance to make sure they have the right level of protection,” she said. “John was very popular and will be missed greatly.”
Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor also raised the flag at the town hall “out of respect” for Alagos and all those who have succumbed to the illness.
Today Watford’s flag is flying at half mast at @WatfordCouncil out of respect for John Alagos, an NHS worker who passed away after caring for people with the Coronavirus, and all those in the town who have died from this illness. Please stay home, protect the NHS and save lives pic.twitter.com/SNCAqkMHuf
— Peter Taylor (@WatfordMayor) April 6, 2020
The family said they were waiting for Alagos’ results and if he tested positive for COVID-19, but the hospital said they “cannot comment further on the cause of death at this stage.”
Alagos’ colleagues started a GoFundMe campaign to assist his grieving family.
“At 23, he had dreams to pursue Uni, unfortunately, he wouldn’t be able to do this now,” the page read.
“As his friends and fellow colleagues, we decided to put up a fundraising for him to assist his grieving family. We want to give back for the service and time he gave for the NHS. He gave his life for his profession and we want to give back to him in a way we can.”
Feature Image via John Alagos