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Former nurse’s warning after loss of mother following coronavirus battle

PUBLISHED: 11:42 25 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:42 25 April 2020

Rosalita Selby died aged 75 after contracting coronavirus. Picture: MARIA SMALLWOOD

Rosalita Selby died aged 75 after contracting coronavirus. Picture: MARIA SMALLWOOD

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A former nurse has warned those flouting lockdown rules that coronavirus “attacks anyone” after speaking out for the first time following the death of her mum.

Rosalita Selby died aged 75 after contracting coronavirus. Picture: MARIA SMALLWOODRosalita Selby died aged 75 after contracting coronavirus. Picture: MARIA SMALLWOOD

Maria Smallwood, from Ipswich, tragically lost her mother last week after a two-week battle with the virus.

She spent the final 24 hours beside the hospital bed of her 75-year-old mother, Rosalita Selby, who she described as “the funniest person you could meet”.

After the traumatic experience of the past three weeks, which saw Mrs Smallwood battling to get her mother tested before struggling to see her in hospital, the former nurse has spoken out to persuade others to follow the government guidelines to protect themselves and others.

She said: “This was a lovely lady who conquered lots in her life, it isn’t fair that she died this way.

Rosalita Selby died aged 75 after contracting coronavirus. Picture: MARIA SMALLWOODRosalita Selby died aged 75 after contracting coronavirus. Picture: MARIA SMALLWOOD

“The fact is it’s serious and you don’t want it to happen to your family.

“I never thought it would happen to my family but coronavirus is not prejudiced against any creed or breed or whatever. It just attacks anyone.

“I think most people are starting to behave now. I think it’s really hit home but, I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what we are going through to be honest.”

Mrs Smallwood also expressed her anger at the blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ rule which meant that her mother, who suffered from a number of conditions after being given infected blood in the 1970s, was not offered potentially life-saving treatment.

The 75-year-old was one of nearly 4,000 people who were given infected blood in the 1970s after complications from her last child birth saw her rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.

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Ms Selby, from Billericay, had a heart attack and haemorrhaged during surgery and was given two units of blood to save her life which, many years later, she discovered was infected.

Due to her illness, which caused serious liver disease, her daughter says Ms Selby was put on a do not resuscitate plan after being admitted to Basildon Hospital and sadly died on April 14.

A day later health secretary Matt Hancock banned the use of blanket do not resuscitate plans for those who become ill in care homes.

When approached, a spokesman for the hospital said they do not comment on individual cases.

Mrs Smallwood added: “It was awful when mum was taken into hospital.

“She had no phone on her, she had no money on her she had nothing, and at this point I couldn’t go in and see her.

“I got a call from the doctors later on and that was when they told me due to her co-morbidity she didn’t qualify for any intensive care or intubation just bog standard oxygen and IV antibiotics.

“It felt like she was written off before she had a chance.

“She then came round after a few days and was very confused and very scared.

“She was the funniest person you’d ever meet. She was a character and was very well known in her community.

“She struggled since the 1980 but she has always coped with it. She was someone who just picks themselves up and goes on.

“She hasn’t had the best of health but has always been kind and caring says things as they are and we have got so many funny stories to tell.”


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