Mary Agyapong inquest: Coroner concludes it is 'unclear where and when' pregnant nurse contracted coronavirus

The inquest into the death of a nurse at Luton & Dunstable Hospital has concluded with a narrative verdict.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 1:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 1:32 pm

Mary Agyapong, 28, tragically died at the L&D Hospital on April 12 last year, due to multi-organ failure and Covid-19.

Just five days earlier, Mrs Agyapong had given birth by emergency caeserean section after being admitted to A&E.

Summing up her findings today, senior coroner for Bedfordshire Emma Whitting said: "Mary died after contracting Covid-19 but it remained unclear where and when her exposure to the virus had occurred.”

Mary Agyapong

Legal representatives for both Mary's family and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital attended the three-day inquest at Ampthill Coroner's Court last week and questioned witnesses.

Despite concerns from Mary's husband Ernest Boateng, clinical staff gave evidence that they had no issues with Mary's care.

Mary had stopped working at the hospital on March 12 and was first admitted to A&E with suspected Covid-19 symptoms on April 5 but was discharged the same day.

Two days later, she was readmitted to A&E and a decision was made to carry out an emergency cesarean.

Speaking at the inquest's conclusion today, Mr Boateng said: “The sudden death of my wife and the mother of our two children has been the hardest pain to bear. In those early days after Mary’s death, I was only able to carry on because of the need to care for our children and provide them with a loving home.

“Mary was strong, capable, vibrant, full of life and the most precious person in my life. It is still difficult to believe that she lost her life to the Covid-19 virus.

“I am glad that those who were involved in Mary’s care in the final weeks of her life have had to give a full account of what happened.

"I hope that the fact that they have had to do so will remind them of the need to always give the best possible care to women in Mary’s situation – especially black women who are themselves on the frontline of healthcare.”

He said that following Mary’s death, other clinicians told him they had raised concerns about safety at work and lack of protective equipment available to frontline staff in the midst of the pandemic.

Ernest added: “The death of someone you love is always sad, but the shocking way in which Mary died is something we will live with for the rest of our lives.

"I do not want Mary to die in vain and hope that changes can be made to ensure that all women who reach 20 weeks of pregnancy be allowed to work from home or be suspended on full pay. As no family should ever have to go through what I have.”

David Carter, Chief Executive for Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Mary was a highly valued and loved member of our team and a fantastic nurse, and we still feel her loss.

“We are reassured that the coroner has found no areas of concern regarding our support for, or care of Mary.

"I would like to pay tribute to our staff who did everything they could for Mary in hugely challenging circumstances.”