Northern Ireland news

Family of Co Tyrone nurse who died of Covid-19 in England believe he contracted virus from patient

Pat McManus worked as a nurse in Staffordshire
Seamus McKinney

THE family of a nurse from Co Tyrone who died from Covid-19 in England has said he contracted the virus from a patient in the hospital where he worked.

Pat McManus (60), who was originally from Townsend Street in Strabane but was working in Staffordshire, died at the weekend.

It is understood he had underlying health issues but refused to remove himself from frontline duties during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr McManus was a son of Peggy McManus, a former SDLP councillor in Strabane who died in 2016.

More than 80 frontline health workers have died from Covid-19 in Britain but Mr McManus is thought to be the first from Northern Ireland.

The father-of-three had worked as a nurse for more than 40 years.

Prior to taking up his position at County Hospital, Stafford, he worked at North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary, Northwick Park Hospital and Central Middlesex Hospital.

In a Facebook post, his sons Kevin, Adrian and Stephen said: “He contracted this cruel virus while working on the front line doing what he's done for 40 years, caring and looking after others.

“He was a man who stood up for what he believed in and fought for others. He was a proud man who loved ‘his boys', his grandchildren and all his family very much.”

His brother Martin, who lives in Wales, said: “He passed away last night (Saturday) at 12.55am from Covid-19 that he contracted from a patient at the hospital where he worked. May God have mercy upon his soul. Pray for the NHS.”

The head of the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust described Mr McManus as “an exceptional leader”.

Tracy Bullock said he was extremely well-liked and a valued member of the nursing team at County Hospital.

“He was a loveable character and brought kindness and compassion to all his patients which was acknowledged by the number of compliments and thank-you messages he received.

"He was an exceptional leader and took staff and students under his wing.”

West Tyrone SDLP assembly member Daniel McCrossan said Mr McManus was a “NHS hero”.

“On behalf of the Strabane people we thank Pat for his lifetime of service to helping others. He must be remembered as a man who gave his life caring for others in this battle against Covid-19.”

Strabane independent councillor Paul Gallagher, who knew Mr McManus, said the fact that he insisted in working on the frontline while being at high risk was a testimony to his courage.

“He was well aware of the dangers but he still insisted on doing his job and helping others,” Mr Gallagher said.

Tributes were also paid by Republican Sinn Féin, which described Mr McManus as a party activist.

A spokesman said he was committed to helping others and saving lives.

“His dedication, courage and selflessness was exemplified in his professionalism and dedication as a NHS nurse."

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