A nurse died alone in his flat while in quarantine after his calls to NHS 111 went unanswered and he feared he contracted coronavirus from treating a patient while not wearing PPE, his family have said.
The body of chemotherapy nurse Donald Suelto, 51, was found by police at his home in London on April 7 following concerns for his welfare.
The tragic details of his death emerged after the number of health and social care staff who have died of coronavirus passed 100.
Mr Suelto, from the Philippines, who worked at Hammersmith hospital in west London, had been in isolation with suspected Covid-19 symptoms.
Donald Suelto, 51, died in his flat while in quarantine after his calls to NHS 111 went unanswered
Mr Suelto’s niece Emylene Suelto-Robertson (right) has opened up on his tragic death
His niece Emylene Suelto-Robertson, 38, has opened up on her uncle’s tragic death earlier this month.
‘It’s so tragic. He was told to dial 111 but the lines were so busy. He just couldn’t get through,’ she said.
‘He messaged a colleague at work on April 5 saying he was struggling to get through. It was the last contact anyone had.
‘I was trying to contact him but he didn’t answer so I expected he was already in the hospital. But he died before he could ring 999.’
Mr Suelto suffered from asthma, had complained about the shortage of PPE and was instructed to contact the NHS 111 line when his condition deteriorated, but he was unsuccessful.
He revealed to Emylene, who lives in Dunbar, Scotland, he feared he contracted coronavirus from treating a patient suffering from a cough and a high temperature without PPE.
‘He said that he hadn’t been given any PPE and that his manager kept telling him they were short,’ she said.
‘My uncle spent 18 years serving the NHS and has paid the ultimate price.
‘At first we didn’t even know where his body was taken and we still don’t have a death certificate.
‘We are waiting patiently but it is not right.’
Mr Suelto feared he contracted coronavirus from treating a patient while not wearing PPE
Ministers face fresh fury today as a vital shipment of coronavirus protective kit from Turkey looks set to be delayed again – with medics warning they might be forced to stop treating patients.
A spokesperson for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said: ‘We are very saddened by Donald’s death and our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues at this especially difficult time.
‘We strictly follow national guidance on the use of personal protective equipment. Donald was not working in an area for Covid-19 patients.’
NHS England declined to comment.
The UK had 124,743 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 16,509 deaths from the illness had been recorded at the time of publication.
The death toll of frontline NHS and care home staff, from heart surgeons and nurses to porters and volunteers, has now reached above 100. Pictured (left to right): Habib Zaidi, 76, GP from Essex; Adil El Tayar, 63, Hereford doctor; Pooja Sharma, 33, Sussex pharmacist; Amged El-Hawrani ENT expert, Burton
Pictured (left to right): Thomas Harvey, 57, London nurse; Alfa Saadu, 68, Essex doctor; Mohamed Shousha 79, London medic; Lynsay Coventry, 54, Essex midwife
Pictured (left to right): Aimee O’Rourke, 39, Kent nurse; Liz Glanister, 68, Liverpool nurse; Areema Nasreen, 36, Walsall nurse; Consultant Anton Sebastianpillai
Pictured (left to right): John Alagos, 23, Watford nurse; Glen Corbin, 59, from London; Rebecca Mack, 29, nurse, Morpeth; Janice Graham, 58, nurse, Scotland
Pictured (left to right): Rahima Sidhanee, 68, London nurse; Josiane Ekoli, 55, Harrogate nurse; Cheryl Williams, ward housekeeper; Ade Raymond, London nurse
Pictured (left to right): Dr Peter Tun, 62, specialist, Reading; Mary Agyapong, pregnant nurse; Dean McKee, 28, carer, London; Amanda Scott, 54, carer, Birmingham
Pictured (left to right): Maureen Ellington, Bristol nurse; Gladys Nyemba, Nottingham nurse; Andy Treble, 57, Wrexham hospital; Lourdes Campbell, 54, Bolton NHS
Pictured (left to right): Amrik Bamotra, 63, Ilford hospital; Brian Darlington, 63, Crewe porter; Julianne Cadby, 49, NHS manager; Linnette Cruz, 51, dental nurse
Pictured (left to right): London GP Syed Zishan Haider, 79; Jitendra Rathod, 58, surgeon, Cardiff; Alice Kit Tak Ong, 70, London nurse; Leilani Dayrit, 47, Rugby nurse
Pictured (left to right): Barbara Moore, 54, Liverpool; Edmond Adedeji, 62, locum, Wiltshire; Fayez Ayache, 76, GP in Ipswich; Carol Jamabo, 56, carer in Bury
Pictured (left to right): Carer Catherine Sweeney, 64; Donald Suelto, London nurse; Urologist Abdul Chowdhury, 53; Julie Omar, 52, nurse in Redditch
Pictured (left to right): Elsie Sazuze, 44, carer, Cannock; Gareth Roberts, 63, Cardiff nurse; Sara Trollope, 51, London matron; Amor Gatinao, 50, London nurse
Pictured (left to right): Donna Campbell, 54, from Cardiff; Elbert Rico, 52, porter in Oxford; Oscar King Jr, 45, porter in Oxford; Elvira Bucu, 50, care worker
Pictured (left to right): Nurse Melujean Ballesteros, 60; Technician Kevin Smith, Doncaster; Leilani Medel, 41, nurse in Cardiff; Amarante Dias, 54, nurse in Somerset
Pictured (left to right): Gladys Mujajati, 46, Derby nurse; Care assistant Stephen Agyapong; Patricia Crowhurst, 54, Teesside care; Jane Murphy, 73, Edinburgh A&E
Pictured (left to right): Barbara Sage, 68, Bromley, London; Dr Krishan Arora, 57, London; Sonya Kaygan, 26, care worker; Jenelyn Carter, 41, Swansea nurse
Pictured (left to right): Michael Allieu, London nurse; Radiographer Simon Guest; Wilma Banaag, 63, Watford hospital; Gilbert Barnedo, 48, London nurse
Pictured (left to right): Rajesh Kalraiya, 69, consultant, Romford; Steven Pearson, 51, nurse, Cumbria; Linda Clarke, 66, Wigan midwife; Emily Perugia, 29, carer, London
Pictured (left to right): Barry England, 999 paramedic; Gordon Ballard, manager, London; Mandy Siddorn, 61, technician, Chester; Unnamed at family’s request
Pictured (left to right): Carer Ruben Junior Munoz, Surrey; Andy Stamp, 65, IT admin, Liverpool; Margaret Tapley, 84, NHS nurse; Charles Tanor, 39, carer, West Mids