Son of doctor who died with coronavirus says death 'probably avoidable' with proper personal protective equipment

The son of an NHS doctor who died after contracting coronavirus says his death was "probably avoidable" had his father had the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

Dr Peter Tun was an associate specialist in neurorehabilitation at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for more than 21 years.

The 62-year-old died in an intensive care unit at the hospital he worked at after contracting Covid-19.

His son, Michael Tun, has told ITV News his father's death may have been avoided had the associate specialist had proper PPE.

Peter Tun had expressed concern about a lack of proper PPE equipment, his son says.

Following his father's death, Mr Tun said he found emails on Dr Tun's phone showing how the associate specialist had called for better PPE for himself and his team.

Mr Tun said his father's email exchange shows he asked for at least surgical masks as "you must suspect everyone of having coronavirus".

Issues around PPE for frontline medical workers have been ongoing during the coronavirus outbreak.

NHS staff have spoken out about shortages in PPE, there have been delays in deliveries of protective equipment, and some staff have been told to reuse items.

Michael Tun says his father's emails show he was concerned about a lack of proper protection.

In an interview with ITV News, Mr Tun said there needs to be more accountability about why his father's requests seemed to go unanswered.

"When I asked about why this is not done, why my dad didn't have the PPE, a lot of the answers seem to be around following strict national guidelines and that, for me, lacks total accountability because there's no explanation what the guidelines are."

He continued: "When a doctor of 40 years has to build such a case to get even a basic surgical mask for him and his team, there is clearly a failure in the decision making process.

"And this may be beyond individual blame."

Dr Tun had high blood pressure and would, his son said, probably fall into a vulnerable group had he not been working on the front line of the crisis.

Since his father's death, Mr Tun said he has learnt more about the associate specialist's career having heard from patients past and present.

"Since his passing, a lot of his current and previous patients or families of the patients have got in touch with me and some of them, for example, he treated 20 years ago."

He said it had been "amazing to hear" from patients Dr Tun had treated and had helped him learn more about his father's life and career.

Dr Peter Tun was an associate specialist in neurorehabilitation at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for more than 21 years.

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust said it was "deeply saddened by the death of Dr Peter Tun.

"There have been so many messages of sympathy and condolence from a wide range of staff and this shows just how popular and respected he was by all who knew and worked with him."

On the issue of PPE, a spokesperson for the Trust said: "Our priority is to keep our staff and patients safe and properly protected, and we follow the strict national guidelines on the correct and appropriate use of PPE.

"We regularly carry out thorough training with staff so they know when and where to use the kit.

"This is backed up by daily checks on the wards by our managers and matrons to ensure staff are always safely, properly and appropriately kitted out for the duties they are performing.

"We are continuing to actively work with Peter's family regarding the circumstances of his death."

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