IN FULL: L&D nurse Mary Agyapong lived in fear of coronavirus, husband tells inquest

A nurse at Luton & Dunstable Hospital who died after contracting Covid-19 lived in constant fear of the virus in her final months, her husband told her inquest today.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:47 pm

Mary Agyapong, 28, died on April 12 last year - just five days after having an emergency caesarian section to deliver her baby girl - also named Mary.

In the months before her death, she would remove her hospital scrubs at her front door when returning home and shower immediately, in a bid to protect her husband and little boy.

She had even taken to sleeping in the family's spare room.

Mary Agyapong's husband said she felt 'pressured' into going to work during the pandemic

Despite these efforts, the mum-of-two spent her last days sedated and surrounded by tubes in the intensive care unit of the hospital where she worked.

At her inquest today (Tuesday) at Ampthill Coroner's Court, Mary's husband Ernest Boateng, 30, said he had been unable to see her after she was admitted to A&E with respiratory problems on April 7.

Mr Boateng, a self-employed mental health support worker and qualified accountant, claimed he heard "conflicting information" from doctors.

"I was told she was getting better," he said.

"I was getting more and more anxious, at the time both Mary and our newborn were alone and I felt helpless."

On April 12, Mr Boateng received the "devastating" phone call that his wife had taken a turn for the worse.

He said: "By the time I got to the hospital, I was told that she had already passed away.

"I went into the ICU unit and I held her and talked to her, but it was too late."

The initial cause of death was given as 1.a pneumonia and 1.b Covid-19.

Ghanaian-born Mrs Agyapong was a ward nurse specialising in diabetes care and had worked at the L&D since 2015, after graduating at the University of Bedfordshire.

She had worked 12 hour shifts well into her pregnancy, completing her last day on around March 12.

"My understanding is that Mary was being pressurised to go back to work as she had HR meetings about her sickness record earlier that year," said Mr Boateng.

"She was 33 weeks pregnant when lockdown began. Mary continued to work during this time but was very concerned around the safety issues of Covid-19.

"She would take her scrubs off at the front door and have a shower immediately."

Mary's due date was May 7 and she had originally been scheduled to take maternity leave on April 27, but had rolled this forward to March 30 using her annual leave.

However, she ended up taking sick leave from March 13, while suffering anaemia and back pain during her pregnancy.

"When Mary and I had conversations about work, I recall her telling me that the staff were very scared about the virus," said her husband.

"I wanted her to stay home but due to high demands at the hospital, she had to keep working.

"She tried to reassure me that everything would be okay, but I could see from her actions she was panicking and anxious.

"During this time, Mary moved into the spare bedroom because she was so concerned about infecting our son and I."

The three day inquest is set to conclude on Thursday, March 25, with legal representatives from both Mary's family and Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust participating in the inquiry.

Mr Boateng said: "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.

"Day in, day out, I mourn and grieve her. I am completely overwhelmed with sadness and pain, but I have no other choice than to get up each day and put on a brave face for my two children, who will never have a relationship with their mother."

The inquest continues.