A “wonderful, caring” Filipino nurse has died with Covid-19 in the hospital where she had worked for 18 years.
Estrella Catalan, 52, died on Friday after weeks in the critical care unit of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where she had worked since September 2002.
Ms Catalan was a staff nurse on the Gunthorpe and Heydon wards, as well as the emergency department and acute stroke team.
Sam Higginson, chief executive of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH), said: “Our deepest and heartfelt condolences are with Estrella’s loved ones and friends at this very difficult time and with all those who worked alongside Estrella and knew her.
“She was a wonderful person and a caring and conscientious nurse, who loved to teach and mentor students; she will be terribly missed.
“This is a heartbreaking reminder of the situation we are facing every day to help others and we want to thank our staff for their ongoing courage and commitment during the pandemic.”
According to a GoFundMe page created in her honour, Ms Catalan is survived by her husband Melvin and their sons John and Josh – adding that her eldest son Vince died two years ago.
The page has raised more than £4,700 for funeral expenses and financial support for the family, and describes her as a “caring, conscientious and hard-working person”.
“She puts the needs of others first before her own,” the page, written by Jenelyn Bales, reads.
“Her selflessness and dedication carried on even when she was on her hospital bed, she still thought and talked about when she could go back to work to help patients and colleagues throughout this pandemic.
“Estrella promised her family, ‘I will be back’ when she was taken to the hospital few weeks ago… sadly, a promise that she could no longer physically keep.”
David White, chairman of NNUH, said: “Every Covid-19 death is a tragedy and to lose one of our own is even more poignant.
“Our thoughts are with all her colleagues and the NNUH staff who did their very best for Estrella.”