The husband of a British woman who died while on holiday in Bali after contracting coronavirus has spoken out about the care she received, saying he does not believe she would have died had she been in the UK.
Ken Finlayson said he was able to exchange goodbyes “for a few minutes” before his wife, Kimberley Finlayson, who had underlying health conditions, died on the Indonesian island on 11 March.
She had undergone two emergency operations in an Indonesian government hospital before her death. She was one of the first British victims of coronavirus to be named.
What is Covid-19?
It is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals.
What are the symptoms this coronavirus causes?
The virus can cause pneumonia-like symptoms. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties.
In the UK, the National Heath Service has defined the symptoms as:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
Should I go to the doctor if I have a cough?
Medical advice varies around the world – with many countries imposing travel bans and lockdowns to try and prevent the spread of the virus. In many place people are being told to stay at home rather than visit a doctor of hospital in person. Check with your local authorities.
In the UK, NHS advice is that anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.
Is the virus being transmitted from one person to another?
Yes. China’s national health commission confirmed human-to-human transmission in January.
How many people have been affected?
China’s national health commission confirmed human-to-human transmission in January. As of 19 March, more than 219,000 people have been infected in more than 150 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
There have been over 8,900 deaths globally. Just over 3,200 of those deaths have occurred in mainland China. Many of those who have died had underlying health conditions, which the coronavirus complicated.
More than 84,000 people are recorded as having recovered from the coronavirus.
He told the BBC he believed the “great NHS” would have saved her had she been treated by the hospital local to the family’s home in the UK.
“Myself and my four children are absolutely devastated to lose the most beautiful wife and mother,” he said. “She’s so generous, she’s so full of life, she’s so powerful, courageous, supportive of all of us. I’ve lost half of myself.
“I talked to her. She said that she loved me and we exchanged that for a few minutes and looked into one another’s eyes.”
Finlayson, who tested negative for the virus, cautioned other UK citizens when travelling overseas and urged them to “be strong” for their families in the months to come.
He said: “The lesson for the British public to realise is that if you go to these places then people really mean well but you’re giving up that level of care which we expect and you are playing Russian roulette with your lives if you become critical.
“Mistakes were being made. I don’t believe … if this had happened in Barnet hospital, I believe our great NHS would have saved Kimberley. I don’t think she would have been anywhere near as critical in the first place.
“Tragically in the UK there will be many people who will suffer, I’m sure, over the months ahead. You need to be strong for your family and the memory of your loved one who died in such tragic circumstances.”
He added there was an irony in the now-familiar phrase “underlying health issues” – referring to his wife, who had diabetes.
“I don’t know many people in their 50s who haven’t received medication, haven’t had some health issues. My wife is the most incredibly generous, loving mum.”
Colleagues of Kimberley, who was from Hertfordshire and the founder of a dental communications company, praised her “passion, creativity and determination”.
An online statement said: “Those fortunate enough to know her will remember a whirlwind of energy and ideas, and an ability to make things happen that few can match.”