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Solicitor for widower of Mary Agyapong supports call for Covid public inquiry

The solicitor representing the family of nurse Mary Agyapong has echoed the coroner’s calls for a public inquiry into how the coronavirus pandemic has been handled.

Posted on 30 March 2021

Coroner Emma Whiting delivered a narrative conclusion today following the inquest into the death of Mary Agyapong, 28, who died from multi organ failure and Covid-19 just five days after the birth of her child by emergency caesarean section at Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

The coroner went on to call for a public inquiry looking into wider policy implications, saying: "Since this is a process which goes far beyond a coroner's inquest and the Prime Minister has indicated his intention to hold a full public inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic, I urge him to proceed with this as soon as practicable."
Suzanne White, head of clinical negligence at law firm Leigh Day, echoed the calls of the coroner and said that the government must hold a public inquiry into how the pandemic was handled to give her client, Mary’s widow Ernest Boateng, and many others who have lost loved ones the answers they deserve.
Suzanne said: “We welcome the coroner’s conclusion today and we wholeheartedly support her calls for a public inquiry into how the covid-19 pandemic has been handled. It is clear that many hundreds of families will have questions about the impact of government policy decisions and any subsequent risks their loved ones were exposed to during the pandemic.
“I have seen first-hand the devastation of one of these families losing a dedicated and loving wife and mother in Mary. As the pandemic is still ongoing we need an inquiry urgently to make sure all possible lessons are learnt so that we can minimise any future losses of life to Covid 19.”
Mary’s husband Ernest told the inquest that he had “real concerns about Mary working whilst heavily pregnant in such a very stressful and in my view risky situation.”
He said that following Mary’s death, other clinicians told him they had raised concerns about safety at work and lack of protective equipment available to frontline staff in the midst of the pandemic.
He added: “The death of someone you love is always sad, but the shocking way in which Mary died is something we will live with for the rest of our lives. I do not want Mary to die in vain and hope that changes can be made to ensure that all women who reach 20 weeks of pregnancy be allowed to work from home or be suspended on full pay. As no family should ever have to go through what I have.”

Suzanne White
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Suzanne White

Suzanne White is head of the medical negligence team and has specialised in this area of law since qualifying in 1999.

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Setting out the legal rights during the pandemic, which are available to employees, the most common type of worker in the UK and the category who have the most protection under employment law.