Hospital launch probe after NHS doctor who begged for better PPE dies from coronavirus – The Sun

A PROBE has been launched by an NHS trust after a doctor died following repeated pleas for better protection against coronavirus.

Dr Peter Tun, 62, died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital on April 13 after testing positive for Covid-19 a week earlier.

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A spokesperson for the trust said: “We can confirm a serious incident investigation has been launched.

"It involves senior managers and clinicians who are working closely with Dr Tun’s family to look at their concerns and answer their questions. Whilst this is ongoing, we are unable to say any more.”

Dr Tun sent emails to his hospital managers pleading for PPE, but was told because it was in short supply his neuro-rehabilitation ward ranked lower than others that also needed it, The Guardian previously reported.

But the doctor was told his team could not have surgical masks, since there were no suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 in his ward, despite the fact two members of his team were self-isolating.

In one email Dr Tun wrote: "We do not have any basic surgical masks for Caversham ward neuro-rehab medical team.

"The ward stock has been taken by ICU (intensive care), according to a staff nurse … we do not have eye protection kits, gowns nor scrubs."

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One manager had emailed back: "These supplies are not widely available and need to be used sensibly… this is the Trust position at the moment and I do not have any powers to influence this."

In another email from management, they said Dr Tun's ward did not require PPE because it did not have any confirmed coronavirus patients.

Michael, Dr Tun's son, told the newspaper: "When a doctor of 40 years' experience has to literally beg for surgical masks, and it is denied, something has gone seriously wrong."

He didn't blame the hospital for nationwide shortages of PPE.

Michael added: "I think my dad's death was avoidable and that probability would have been reduced if he had had proper personal protective equipment."

The dad-of-two had worked as an associate specialist in neurorehabilitation at the hospital for more than 21 years.

Michael had previously written on Facebook that his dad was told by a manager that PPE would be brought back if a patient tested positive, but Dr Tun warned that would be "too late".

More than 100 NHS and care staff have died with the virus, as have many transport and other key workers.

Dr Tun's emails revealed in full

From: Tun Peter

Sent: 23 March 2020 15:16

Subject: RE: PPE for Caversham Ward Neurorehab Medical Team

Dear _________

According to the President of the Royal College of Physicians guideline advice, we are not supposed to touch or do CPR in a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients unless appropriate minimal PPE (like basic surgical masks, none available on Caversham ward).

Two doctors in our department are already self-isolating for 14 days currently. One [member of our] team has regular duty … with suspected COVID-19 patients, and she is coming to our office daily.

We do not know for sure whether a patient needing CPR (could be anywhere in the hospital), could have been exposed to COVID-19 patients in RBH [Royal Berkshire Hospital] since admission, because RBH policy does not test PCR for COVID-19 for all patients with “Fever, Cough and Breathlessness”, unless they fit a certain criteria to be agreed by the microbiologist and chest physician.

If we are not prepared in advance before the ward becomes “HOT” [has confirmed cases], it will be too little and too late.

Yours sincerely,

Peter

To: Tun Peter

Sent: 23 March 2020 15:26

Subject: RE: PPE for Caversham Ward Neurorehab Medical Team

Dear Peter

The advice that you have quoted is the same that we are following for suspected or confirmed patients. Many people are currently off self-isolating for 14 days however as we have no directive from the government at this point about testing of staff we will not know if these are COVID or not, they may just have a cough or a temp for other reasons.

I am unable to order masks for Caversham without any suspected or confirmed cases on the ward. These supplies are not widely available and need to be used sensibly for those staff most at risk (ie those looking after suspected or confirmed cases). I will be able to get supplies immediately if and when you need them.

This is the Trust position at the moment and I do not have any powers to influence this

Apologies

Emails seen by The Guardian

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