A heroic NHS nurse has been left fighting for her life with coronavirus after treating a patient with the disease – without being provided any personal protective equipment.
Becky Usher, 38, remains in an intensive care unit where she is in an induced coma and relying on a ventilator to breath after testing positive for the deadly disease.
Relatives claim that Becky was not provided with any PPE when treating the patient – who staff did not initially know the patient had coronavirus – at Dewsbury and District Hospital for two days.
Becky first developed a high temperature and a sore throat on Sunday, April 5.
She experienced breathing difficulties at her home in Heckmondwike, West Yorks., on Tuesday and began to slur her words, so her worried partner called 111.
Becky, who has a six-year-old daughter, was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield where she was admitted to intensive care after her condition worsened.
Her family said she has tested positive for coronavirus and remains in the intensive care unit, where she is in an induced coma and relying on a ventilator.
Her sister Kelly Cardwell, 42, said the family is “heartbroken” as they are unable to be by her side in hospital, where she remains in a critical but stable condition.
Kelly said: “The hardest part is not being able to see her and not being able to see my parents, thinking we may not ever see her again.
“Becky is bubbly, outgoing and has a heart of gold. She is also very stubborn and a fighter.
“She is extremely popular and has so many friends wishing her well.
“She will be overwhelmed with the positivity and support she’s received
“Becky has basically risked her own health for others.
“I think they don’t have enough PPE. She was told they didn’t need any as there were no patients with coronavirus.
“I believe they do have it now, but obviously a few days too late.”
Becky has underlying health conditions including Long QT syndrome, a hereditary heart condition which left her fighting for her life in 2004 after multiple heart attacks.
Kelly added: “It just seems such an injustice for her to have fought so hard in 2004 and have a second chance, just to be fighting again now with none of us by her side.”
Kelly praised her sister’s fellow NHS heroes who are going through hell on the frontline against coronavirus, which has killed at least 19 NHS workers.
She added: “For the other NHS angels and key workers supporting everyone through this worrying and difficult time, we can’t thank you enough for the risk you are taking to save other’s lives.
“Just know how much everyone truly appreciates the sacrifice you are making each day.
“The staff in ICU are doing a great job and we are grateful for the support Becky is getting.”
Kelly has posted a handmade card with a big red heart inside to Pinderfields, urging her sister to ‘keep fighting’.
She added: “Please – our sister, daughter and beautiful mother – fight this with everything you have like you did back in 2004.
“We know you can beat this and you have so many people waiting for you to get better and make more memories with.”
Becky’s partner Martin Parker, 40, said: “She told me off when the paramedics arrived.
“Said she was fine, but I knew she wasn’t.
“The paramedic said ‘tell him off when you get home, but you’re going to hospital’.
I miss her and I love her
“I miss her and I love her.”
The government has come under heavy criticism for not doing enough to provide frontline staff with personal protective equipment.
Speaking at Saturday’s coronavirus briefing in Downing Street, home secretary Priti Patel said: “I’m sorry if people feel that there have been failings. I will be very, very clear about that.
“But at the same time, we are in an unprecedented global health pandemic right now.
“It is inevitable that the demand and the pressures on PPE and demand for PPE are going to be exponential.”
But acting Lib Dem leader Ed Davey blasted on Saturday: “Over the last few days, it has become clear that the Government is failing to deliver on key promises to NHS and social care workers, especially over supplies of protective equipment.
“Ministers look in danger of losing control.
“We simply cannot send tens of thousands of frontline workers to care for people as they fight this virus without adequate protection.
“The lack of sufficient protective equipment is becoming a national scandal; many health and care staff clearly feel they’ve been sold down the river.”