Fila Lutu, an NHS HR Employee Relations Officer from Chadwell Heath, had been hesitant to take the jab, after reportedly suffering bad reactions to vaccines for other diseases
An unvaccinated NHS worker who had recently decided to get the jab after changing her stance on the vaccine died after contracting Covid.
Fila Lutu, an NHS HR Employee Relations Officer from Chadwell Heath, had been hesitant to take the jab, after reportedly suffering bad reactions to vaccines for other diseases.
But the 37-year-old healthcare worker had eventually decided she would get vaccinated after they were made mandatory for NHS workers in time for the April 2022 deadline.
Sadly, Fila contracted Covid-19 in December and died soon after, following complications from the virus.
Fila started her job as an HR Covid-19 support administrator at North Middlesex University Hospital in July 2020, before becoming an Employee Relations Officer a year later.
She had such a positive impact in the short time she worked there that the hospital trust is now planning to construct a bench dedicated to the “amazing” health worker, Essex Live reported.
Fila, who was born in the Congo and first came to the UK in 1993, started feeling unwell when she came back from France on December 12. She tested positive for Covid soon after.
After five days, her symptoms became worse – she struggled to eat and was reportedly in a great deal of pain. Her younger sister Lauren claimed she texted her to say she was “so hot she wanted to chew ice.”
After checking up on her two days’ later, they found Fila experiencing cold sweats while she could barely speak.
Lauren said she rolled off the bed in pain saying “God help me” with chest pains.
She called for an ambulance and told Fila, who was struggling to breathe, to squeeze her hand while she spoke to the ambulance dispatcher.
“She was trying, she really was – I know she was fighting,” Lauren said. “I was holding her hand and I told her ‘squeeze my hand if you could hear me’ – she was trying to squeeze but it was so weak.”
Paramedics conducted an ECG reading and told Lauren and her mum that she was showing signs of someone having a heart attack.
Fila was rushed to King George Hospital in Ilford but sadly they could not go with her, due to the strict covid restrictions in place.
Lauren and her mum exchanged their goodbyes with Fila and went back into the house, not knowing that it would be their last ever goodbye.
Fila called her mum from hospital in the early hours of December 19 to tell her that the medication she was on was not easing the pain she was in.
Later that day, after calling for an update, Fila’s mum was told her daughter was being transferred to a London hospital before she went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated.
Lauren, one of her older brothers, and their mum rushed to hospital and waited for an update on Fila.
While the trio was there, Christopher, 28, and their brother Jessie, 24, waited anxiously at home. About 30 minutes later, they received the devastating news that she had passed away.
Lauren said: “One of them had tears in her eyes and I just knew. They sat and started with ‘We did everything we could.’ When I heard that I was like ‘no’. My mum just fell on the floor and she cried.”
Lauren then called her brothers and Fila’s closest friends to give them the news.
The devastated family was given the opportunity to see Fila after she passed away.
“I was just crying, I cried so much my eyes were already puffy,” Lauren said. “If I cried anymore, I felt like I would have exploded.”
Christopher said: “It was just very traumatising, it just felt so real, very painful.”
The local Congolese community has been an enormous help while the family has grieved.
As many of Fila’s friends wanted to help, Lauren proposed to start a GoFundMe page to help cover the funeral cost. She put the target as £2000 on the page and donations exceeded the target within a few hours.
The page has raised over £6,000, and the excess funds will be donated to North Middlesex University Hospital’s charity.
Fila was laid to rest on Friday, January 14, at City Gate Church, Ilford. There, her coffin was carried to the church in a white carriage and doves were released.
George Agass, head of Communications, Engagement and Fundraising at North Mid Hospital, said: “Fila was exceedingly well-loved by her close colleagues at North Mid, and impressed everyone she worked with on different projects with her kindness, her positivity, and her selflessness.
“It’s incredibly cruel that she has been taken away far too early, and in line with her faith, we ask for God’s blessing for her and all her family and friends. Fila’s team described her as exceptionally caring, and that she was always bright, and could light up the room with her kindness.
“So it felt fitting to commemorate her too-short life with something that could continue to provide support and space to reflect, rest, and recover, which is why we plan to install and dedicate a memorial bench in Fila’s name.”
Her brother, Christopher, added: “When we heard about the bench we were happy to know that she had continued leaving a positive impact wherever she went.
“So to hear that the hospital wanted to make a bench for her was just a reminder that she had left such a good impression there in a short time as she had only been working there for a year.
“She was always smiling through every situation,” the 28-year-old said.
“When she was having her own struggles and difficulties in life, she would always just keep on smiling and always trying to encourage every single one of us.
“A lot of my siblings would always go to her for advice and she’d always just be there, giving as much effort as possible because she always liked helping other people.”
Click here to donate to Fila’s GoFundMe page/Mid North Charity.