By Kate McGreavy for MailOnline
UNITED KINGDOM — A Filipino nurse has died alone in his flat while in quarantine after his calls to NHS 111 went unanswered and he feared he contracted coronavirus from treating a patient while not wearing PPE, his family have said.
The body of chemotherapy nurse Donald Suelto, 51, was found by police at his home in London on April 7 following concerns for his welfare.
The tragic details of his death emerged after the number of health and social care staff who have died of coronavirus passed 100.
Mr Suelto, from the Philippines, who worked at Hammersmith hospital in west London, had been in isolation with suspected Covid-19 symptoms.
His niece Emylene Suelto-Robertson, 38, has opened up on her uncle’s tragic death earlier this month.
‘It’s so tragic. He was told to dial 111 but the lines were so busy. He just couldn’t get through,’ she said.
‘He messaged a colleague at work on April 5 saying he was struggling to get through. It was the last contact anyone had.
‘I was trying to contact him but he didn’t answer so I expected he was already in the hospital. But he died before he could ring 999.’
Mr Suelto suffered from asthma, had complained about the shortage of PPE and was instructed to contact the NHS 111 line when his condition deteriorated, but he was unsuccessful.
He revealed to Emylene, who lives in Dunbar, Scotland, he feared he contracted coronavirus from treating a patient suffering from a cough and a high temperature without PPE.
‘He said that he hadn’t been given any PPE and that his manager kept telling him they were short,’ she said. ‘My uncle spent 18 years serving the NHS and has paid the ultimate price.
‘At first we didn’t even know where his body was taken and we still don’t have a death certificate.
‘We are waiting patiently but it is not right.’
Ministers face fresh fury today as a vital shipment of coronavirus protective kit from Turkey looks set to be delayed again – with medics warning they might be forced to stop treating patients.
A spokesperson for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said: ‘We are very saddened by Donald’s death and our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues at this especially difficult time.
‘We strictly follow national guidance on the use of personal protective equipment. Donald was not working in an area for Covid-19 patients.’
The UK had 124,743 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 16,509 deaths from the illness had been recorded at the time of publication. (ia/SovereignPH.com/MailOnline)