When mental health nurse Lucy Duncan finished her seventh consecutive 12 hour shift in a row at Wigan Hospital she may have been anticipating a break from the pressure of being an NHS worker during the Covid 19 crisis. It was not to be.
On her drive home she was in collision with a car being driven by a man in his 70’s who, as it turned out was suffering from the virus and who had been in isolation for over a week, had not spoken to anybody during that time and had been forced to go looking for a supermarket to get food as he believed he was starving to death.
The man was obviously very unwell and Lucy called an ambulance and waited with the man, then following the ambulance back to the hospital from where she was making her way home. Despite having worked 84 hours in 7 days Lucy Duncan then acted in a most selfless manner, spending a further five hours comforting the man before being sent home by colleagues. She continued to phone the hospital to check on his condition providing comfort and reassurance to the elderly man who was extremely sick.
During this time she found out that the man had a son but had not had contact with him for many years, Lucy agreed to do her best to find his son and the pair agreed to have a cup of coffee when he recovered, they were commitments that would never be met as the man was to die during the night.
Not many people would have exposed themselves to the risk of Covid 19 in this way, let alone comfort a total stranger in what was to be the final hours of his life unless, of course they worked for the NHS. This example, likely to be one of many such selfless acts we will hear about before the crisis is over shows why there was such a public demonstration of support for our caring and compassionate NHS staff throughout the United Kingdom last Thursday night.
This story emphasizes the importance of fighting this virus together in our communities and our workplaces, we do not know how this man and his son were not in contact with each other nor doe we need to. What we do know is that there are many, many more vulnerable people socially isolated as a result of this virus and we need far more people to display the same selfless nature as Lucy Duncan did, early intervention is key to preventing those with symptoms having to access health care, freeing up NHS resources to care for those worst affected.
We can all play a part ensuring this happens by following the advice from public health experts on measures to prevent the spread of the virus as well as the guidance from Government, no matter how hard it may be to stay indoors and stay safe.