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Surrey coroner criticises government Covid face mask guidelines after paramedic's death

A coroner has said she does not understand why frontline workers were not required to wear a mask during lockdown after hearing a paramedic had died with Covid. A two-day inquest into the death of Peter Hart, who died on his 52nd birthday, concluded on Tuesday (September 13) with assistant coroner Dr Karen Henderson ruling the father-of-three died of natural causes caused by Covid.

She said on the balance of probabilities he caught the disease while working at East Surrey Hospital, where he died on May 12, 2020. During the onset of the pandemic only healthcare workers tending to those suspected of having Covid-19 were required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). In accordance with national guidelines, Mr Hart, who was treating patients not suspected of having the virus, did not need to.

“Retrospectively it is difficult to comprehend why the national guidance said PPE did not need to be used for all patients and healthcare workers at the earliest opportunity,” Dr Henderson said. “Although there appears a lost opportunity to ensure maximum protection I make no finding of fact whether this contributed to Mr Hart’s death.

“Patients not suspected to have Covid were not expected to wear face masks. This is in effect a perfect storm and given evidence of Mrs Hart I am satisfied Mr Hart contracted Covid during his work at East Surrey Hospital,” she added.

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Source: Surrey Live, 13 September 2022


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