Metropolitan police found NHS nurse Donald Suelto's body in his home in Bethnal Green, east London on April 7, after he was last heard from on April 5. Suelto had been in self-quarantine after coming in contact with a COVID-19 patient. His family blames the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which exposed the chemotherapy nurse to the novel coronavirus.
The 51-year-old health care worker had been working in the chemotherapy department of Hammersmith Hospital in west London. Suelto was not working directly with COVID-19 patients in the hospital which is run by Imperial College Healthcare National Health Service Trust. However, on March 25, Suelto came in contact with a patient who tested positive for COVID-19.
Suelto was asked to self-isolate in his home three days after the exposure. He was asked to call the NHS 111 helpline if his health deteriorated. Suelto's niece, Emylene Suelto Robertson, stated that she was in constant communication with her uncle who lived alone in London. Robertson recalled that April 2 was the last time she was in contact with her uncle.
Robertson who lives in Dunbar, Scotland told The Sun that her uncle was last in contact with a colleague on April 5. Suelto reportedly told his colleague that he was unable to get a response to his 111 calls. After his last conversation with his colleague, he remained unreachable. Police had to break into his home to address a welfare concern call. He was found unresponsive.
Suelto had reportedly called his mother, who lives in the Philippines, to tell her that he suspected that he would soon die from the virus. Before falling prey to the virus, Suelto had complained about the lack of PPE available at the hospital. His family believes that the nurse would have not died if the hospital took the precaution of providing all medical staff with PPE. Even though the cause of Suelto's death has not been officially announced, his family believes he is a COVID-19 victim.