Family share heartbreak after being unable to see their mother in her final weeks

Katherine Johnston (22 April, 2020)

Health secretary's U-turn came too late for Marguerite Orford

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The family of a woman who died during the Coronavirus outbreak has criticised the government’s now reversed decision to stop families from being present at COVID-19 patients’ deaths.

Nicola McSorley and George Orford lost their mother, Marguerite, last month. COVID-19 was listed as a contributing factor to her death in St Thomas’ after she suffered a stroke and complications from other long-term conditions while living in Tower Bridge Care Home.

Marguerite in her land army days

She was only meant to stay in the home on a temporary basis after moving in last November for rehabilitation for a badly broken bone.

Marguerite had sustained the injury while living in her specially adapted south Bermondsey flat, where she had lived for decades after moving from the demolished old Bonamy Estate.

Her family has been devastated by the impact of the lockdown after being unable to move her out or visit before she died, and say they still have unanswered questions about her final weeks.

Although unable to hold her during her illness and last moments they were asked to visit both the hospital and home after her death to collect Marguerite’s belongings.

“If it’s a lockdown, it’s lockdown,” George told the News before health secretary Matt Hancock’s change of heart.

“I don’t understand why you can’t have people visiting a home or hospital if they take sensible precautions but you can have staff traveling in on public transport and going in and out because it’s ‘essential’? It doesn’t make sense.”

 

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