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More tests could have saved my cousin’s life, says Norfolk surgeon

PUBLISHED: 08:06 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:39 02 April 2020

Dr Adil El Tayar died after contracting coronavirus. His cousin, a surgeon at the NNUH, said more testing was urgently needed. Picture: NHS

Dr Adil El Tayar died after contracting coronavirus. His cousin, a surgeon at the NNUH, said more testing was urgently needed. Picture: NHS

NHS

A Norfolk doctor has called for testing of everyone in hospitals to be rapidly expanded after his cousin became the first surgeon in the country to die from coronavirus.

Dr Hisham El Khidir, who works at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said more testing could have saved his loved one’s life.

His cousin Dr Adil El Tayar is believed to have been infected in March while working at Hereford County Hospital.

He died on March 25 at West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth.

The 63-year old did not know the patient had coronavirus, his cousin said.

Dr El Khidir said either more patients arriving at hospitals should be tested, whether they had coronavirus symptoms or not, or all NHS staff should be given protective equipment.

“At the moment neither the (non-coronavirus) patients nor the staff they meet wear PPE,” he said. “We need to find a way, either by mass testing or a wider level of PPE.

“The answer has to be somewhere in between those two things.”

Dr El Khidir said, if nothing changed, coming into hospital would have the same risk level as walking through a shopping centre.

“Hospitals across the country are about to be flooded with infected patients,” he added.

“If we don’t improve protection for staff across the board then more of us will die.”

The government and health chiefs have repeatedly pledged to increase testing of NHS staff, but as of Wednesday only 2,000 had been tested.

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