Frustrated EWN Reader In Spain’s Almeria Says: “Until You Can’t Breathe, They’re Not Testing You”

Chris McGovern, a frequent reader of the Euro Weekly Newspaper, has reached out to us in order to express her frustration at the UK’s dangerous management of the coronavirus crisis. McGovern worries for her sister, who is self-isolating at home and has been refused a test despite showing symptoms after losing her husband to the virus last week.  

The reader recalls how her 70-year-old brother-in-law in Andover, Hampshire, was initially hospitalised for other underlying health issues last week, however, doctors gave him the all clear to return home. When returned to his home in an ambulance on Thursday April 9, the reader recalls that the staff used no protection whatsoever to transport the patient; no masks, no gloves, nothing at all.

Once at home he was left with his 70-year-old wife to care for him. However, after having been treated for his illness and given the all clear, he became very ill again, causing his wife to call the emergency medical services again, only 12 hours after his initial discharge.

When they received this call, they dispatched another ambulance, with no sorts of protection, to come and help the worried couple. He sadly tested positive for the coronavirus and shortly after passed away, not even a day after being discharged from the hospital.

McGovern understands that her brother-in-law was of an older age and suffered from underlying illnesses which did not help the circumstances at hand. However, she is frustrated that he was given the all clear to go home and even worse, that he came back with coronavirus. She explains how dangerous it was that all the emergency staff (at least five individuals) who came to the house had absolutely no protection despite being in the middle of a global pandemic.

Chris now worries for her 77-year-old sister who is likely to have contracted the coronavirus after caring for her husband but is being refused the possibility of a test. After much persuasion from family, her sister, who had received an MBE from the Queen for her work in mental illness, called 111 to speak to a doctor over the phone.

They confirmed that with her symptoms it was highly probable that she had in fact contracted the coronavirus but that they would not be able to conduct any tests. They informed her that she would have to wait at home to receive medication to help with the virus.

They told her to stay in self-isolation and “to call back if her breathing gets worse,” or as Chris put it, to “join the queue” as they haven’t got enough tests. Our reader worries that by the time the NHS decides to test or treat her sister that it will be too late.

Chris is concerned for her sister as the message they basically got from the NHS was that “Until you can’t breathe, they’re not testing you, whether you’ve got it or not, they haven’t got enough tests.”

Our reader cannot believe how unprepared the UK is for this medical crisis as she “feels bad for the people who left Spain to go to England, it feels like they would have been safer here.”

Many components of this story are upsetting: the fact that her brother-in-law contracted the virus whilst at hospital (a place where you should feel safe), that the medical staff seem completely unprotected, that her sister has been offered minimal assistance and reassurance, and ultimately, that this is only one of the thousands of similar stories being experienced in the UK amidst this coronavirus crisis.

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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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