KOCHI: On May 21, Kerala remembered Sister Lini, who died battling Nipah virus. On May 24, two years after her death, another Malayali nurse died in the line of duty after contracting the deadly Coronavirus. Ambika PK, 46, a nurse working at Kalra Hospital in West Delhi’s Kirti Nagar died of the infection on Sunday. She breathed her last at the Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. Ambika became the first staff nurse in the country to die of Covid-19.
After completing her official duty by May second week, she was under 14 days home quarantine, which was mandatory for staff nurses. She developed breathing problems by Friday and was admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital. She was moved to ICU on Sunday where she breathed her last by evening, her relatives told TNIE. She is survived by husband Sanalkumar and children Akhil and Bhagya Mol. Sanal, a native of Bihar, is working in Malaysia, while 22-year old Akhil, who has completed Polytechnic Diploma was at his mother’s home in Vallikode, Pathanamthitta, at the time of her death.
The younger daughter, Bhagya Mol, who is studying in Class X, was with her mother and is now under quarantine. Akhil left Pathanamthitta on Monday afternoon and reached Delhi by evening. The time of the funeral, under Covod-19 protocol, will be decided only after Akhil signs the necessary documents. Ambika was working at Kalra Hospital for the past 12 years and was residing at Sivaji Enclave DDA in West Delhi. As her son was studying in Pathanamthitta and staying with his grandmother Kunhikkutty, who is residing at Kottayampaara in Vallikode, Ambika used to visit her ancestral home whenever she got leave. “It was four months ago that Ambika visited Pathanamthitta. At that time, Covid -19 threat was not there and the situation was different.
There was happiness around and no sign of the pandemic. As soon as we knew about the death of Ambika, with the help of Anto Antony, MP, we made arrangements for Akhil to reach Delhi. Her husband too may not be able to make it to the funeral which will be held under Covid-19 protocol,” said Robin Peter, panchayat president, Pramadam.
He said at a time when everybody is praying for the health and welfare of nurses and health workers, more measures should be put in place for their welfare and also of their families. “We know how important the role of health workers is, especially doctors and nurses, in fighting the pandemic. The state and Union governments should come forward and offer maximum support, not only to them, but also their families,” he added. The United Nurses Association (UNA), a professional association of registered nurses in Kerala, expressed condolences over the demise of Ambika.