Coronavirus: London nurse who ‘loved her job’ dies in pandemic

Melujean Ballesteros Image copyright Faz Ghooloo/GoFundMe
Image caption Melujean Ballesteros had suffered a fever and cough in mid-March before becoming critically ill

A “caring and dedicated” nurse has died after contracting Covid-19 in London.

Melujean Ballesteros, 60, who is originally from the Philippines, died at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington two days after being admitted.

Her son, Rainier, said his mum, who “loved her job”, had a fever and a cough before her condition worsened.

The news follows the deaths of two Filipino porters from John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Oscar King Jr and Elbert Rico, who died on Saturday.

Mr Ballesteros, 37, said: “[My mum] started her career at St Mary’s Hospital in 2002; she loved her work as a nurse. She was a dedicated and very caring nurse.”

Mother and wife

He said he convinced her to visit the hospital when her condition began to worsen. She was admitted to hospital on Friday, but died on Sunday.

Mrs Ballesteros is survived by Rainier, another son, Bryan, 38, who also lives in the Philippines, and husband Luis, 64, who lives in the UK.

Elsewhere, Filipino nurse Leilani Dayrit, who worked at St Cross Hospital in Rugby, died on 7 April.

A spokesman for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs St Mary’s Hospital in Pread Street, said: “We are very sad to confirm the death of one of our nurses, Melujean Ballesteros, who worked at St Mary’s Hospital from 2002.

“Melujean was well known across the hospital for her kindness and compassion.

“She made a big impact on the lives of her colleagues as well as her patients, she will be greatly missed.”

Tens of NHS workers are known to have died with coronavirus so far, including doctors who came out of retirement.

A Commons library report published last year found that more than 18,000 Filipinos work in the NHS, third only to the numbers from Britain and India.