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    Moment NHS staff follow hearse around hospital as it carries body of newly qualified nurse

    Moment heartbroken NHS staff follow hearse around hospital as it carries body of newly qualified nurse, 39, who died of coronavirus

    • Nurses followed a hearse around a hospital as it carried a colleague who died
    • Aimee O’Rourke, 39, who was a newly qualified nurse, died of coronavirus
    • The mother-of-three passed away at a hospital in Kent where she qualified
    • Only close family were allowed to attend the funeral but colleagues watched 
    • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

    Devastated nurses followed a hearse around a hospital as it carried one of their colleagues who died of coronavirus

    Aimee O’Rourke, 39, had worked as a newly qualified nurse in the Acute Medical Unit of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, since 2017. 

    The mother-of-three tragically died in the Critical Care Unit of the same hospital on April 2 after testing positive for Covid-19. 

    Devastated nurses followed a hearse around a hospital as it carried one of their colleagues Aimee O’Rourke, 39, who died of coronavirus on April 9

    Heroic medical staff lined the QEQM entrance as her funeral procession passed on Wednesday afternoon with many applauding as the hearse drove through

    Heroic medical staff lined the QEQM entrance as her funeral procession passed on Wednesday afternoon with many applauding as the hearse drove through

    Heroic medical staff lined the QEQM entrance as her funeral procession passed on Wednesday afternoon. 

    While many people stood and applauded as the hearse drove through, an army of nurses were seen following the car which contained a poignant floral tribute to the NHS. 

    Due to government guidelines, only close family were allowed to attend the funeral but colleagues were still able to pay a fitting send off. 

    A GoFundMe page set up in Aimee’s memory has since raised £36,795 which will go to her daughters Megan, Mollie and Maddie. 

    Aimee O'Rourke, 39, had worked as a newly qualified nurse in the Acute Medical Unit before she died of coronavirus on April 9

    Aimee O’Rourke, 39, had worked as a newly qualified nurse in the Acute Medical Unit before she died of coronavirus on April 9

    The East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust confirmed a memorial will be installed at the QEQM for colleagues to remember the much-loved nurse. 

    Paying tribute to Aimee, Acute Medical Unit ward manager Julie Gammon said: ‘She was such a kind and caring nurse, and she had a really special relationship with her patients and colleagues.

    ‘Nursing was something she had always wanted to do, although she came to it relatively late after raising her girls. 

    ‘She took some time out to care for her mum after she was diagnosed with cancer and she was determined to return and to make her mum proud. 

    ‘Aimee was a really valuable part of our work family and would always offer to help if she could. She was really growing and developing in her skills and confidence and I know she would have gone on to have a great career.’ 

    When Aimee was first brought into the hospital with symptoms of COVID-19, she asked for Julie and her colleague was able to sit with her in the emergency department. 

    Julie said: ‘It was an honour to be able to be with her and to provide some comfort and I am so glad that I was able to do so.’ 

    Susan Acott, Chief Executive of East Kent Hospitals, said the thoughts of everyone at the Trust were with Aimee’s family and friends. 

    She said: ‘Aimee was hard-working, dedicated and hugely popular with staff and patients alike. 

    ‘She gave her all to care for our patients and her commitment was evident for all to see. ‘

    On behalf of the whole Trust I would like to offer our sincere condolences to her girls, whom she adored, and to all her family and friends. 

    ‘I would also like to pay tribute to our teams in the emergency department and our Critical Care Unit who cared for Aimee with such compassion and kindness.’ 

    Official data showed the week ending April 3 was the deadliest since records began in 2005, with 16,387 fatalities recorded. A graph shows how the week compares to others since the start of 2020

    Official data showed the week ending April 3 was the deadliest since records began in 2005, with 16,387 fatalities recorded. A graph shows how the week compares to others since the start of 2020

    Amanda Hallums, Chief Nurse at East Kent Hospitals, said everyone who worked alongside Aimee was heartbroken at her death.

    She said: ‘We are a work family and it is devastating to lose one of our own. ‘

    Aimee was determined to provide the best possible care to all of her patients and continued to come to work at a time when others were staying at home and inside. 

    ‘We will forever remember her smile, her concern for her patients and her colleagues, and her willingness to always go above and beyond.’  

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