Covid patient seen going in and out of King George Hospital for smoking breaks

The daughters of a man who died at King George Hospital, two weeks after he contracted coronavirus under its care, say they were shocked to see a Covid patient coming and going from the ward for cigarette breaks.

David Quirk, 73, of Romford, was being treated at Queen’s Hospital for several months for a number of ailments, including dementia.

He was transferred to King George Hospital, Goodmayes, in early October to be seen by an occupational health therapist, and within a week he tested positive and two weeks later died.

Just before he died his daughter Rachel Claridge came from her home in Kent to meet her sister Michelle Griggs, who lives nearby in Romford, so they could see their dad one last time.

Michelle was horrified to see that a Covid patient who was just two beds down from her father left the ward for cigarette breaks outside.

When Rachel met her sister outside the hospital and they were waiting to go in, the same patient came out again and asked them for a lighter.

Rachel told the Recorder: “It’s not right and surely that shouldn’t be allowed. He was only two beds down from my dad and he looked very unwell. What if they are spreading it to other people?”

Most Read

The Recorder asked a spokesperson for Barking, Havering, and Redbridge NHS Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) what its policy is for allowing patients on a Covid ward to leave and re-enter the hospital and what safety measures are taken to ensure that person is not contagious and spreading the virus.

BHRUT did not respond to the specific questions but stated that its hospitals are smoke-free sites and patients are “strongly discouraged from smoking”.

Chief medical officer Magda Smith said: “Patients are also advised not to leave wards to smoke while staying in our hospitals as a matter of course, and especially during the current pandemic.”

Rachel said: “This whole process has undermined my whole view of the NHS.

“I don’t think they’re taking their duty of care seriously particularly as my father contracted the virus while he was there and we are seeing sick patients coming and going.

“Now that I have mourned this is on my mind and I just don’t want this to happen to other families.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter