The family of a nurse who died say they are “100% proud” of her but she should have had better protective equipment.
Josiane Ekoli, 55, lived in Leeds and worked on an NHS coronavirus ward at Harrogate District Hospital. She died at Leeds General Infirmary on 13 April.
One of her sons said those on the front line needed protecting and they were “kind of [being sent] there naked”.
The Department for Health and Social Care said it was “working around the clock” to provide the right equipment.
Her children said their mother only had a surgical mask, gloves and apron on the ward she worked on, which they said was not enough.
Ms Ekoli’s children said their mother had a smile that “lit up the room” and always looked for the positive.
Ms Ekoli’s youngest child Aalijah said her mother, who had five children and had worked as a nurse for more than 30 years, “died helping people”.
She said her mother’s positivity had made her determined to be the person her mum wanted her to be.
“I don’t want to blame anyone but I feel like if the people in charge did their job properly it wouldn’t have turned out the way it did,” Aalijah said.
“If they gave my mum the proper equipment in the first place it could have been prevented.”
Ms Ekoli’s son Kenan said he was “100% proud” of his mum and she was his “role model”.
“She risked her life for everyone else being on the NHS front line, fighting every day against the coronavirus,” he said.
Mr Ekoly said his mother only had a surgical mask, gloves and apron on the ward she worked on, and said about her death “things could have been better dealt with considering the amount she gave the NHS”.
Aaron Ekoly said his mother was “really good fun” and “the most vibrant person ever”.
“Her smile lit up a room. She was beautiful,” he said.
“She was God-fearing and really strong.”
“But they should protect those on the front line, they’re kind of sending them over there naked,” he added.
“Without the proper protection, more families will lose a loved one.”
Positive people ‘Is a challenge’
The Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said it was following national guidance as published by Public Health England.
In a statement it said: “We have enough PPE in stock, and are getting regular deliveries of new items. It is a challenge and we’re doing all we can to maintain provision.”
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The Department for Health and Social Care said since the start of the outbreak it had delivered more than 923 million pieces of PPE to the front line.
A spokesperson added: “We are working around the clock to give the NHS and the wider social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this global outbreak.”
On Thursday, Leeds North East Labour MP Fabian Hamilton called on the government to provide better PPE to front-line staff.
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