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A care home nurse in Surrey who “epitomised everything that nursing is about” has died after spending three weeks in intensive care with Covid-19.
Larni Zuniga, 54, died on 24 April after being treated for the virus in an intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital, according to a fundraising page set up in his memory.
“Larni epitomised everything that nursing is about”.
The page, which has so far raised more than £7,000, was created by a close friend of Mr Zuniga, Arnold Barrientos.
It said Mr Zuniga had moved from the Philippines 12 years ago and he had not seen his family for five years. His wife, Edith, was due to join him in the UK in June, but the coronavirus outbreak had put this on hold, noted the page.
The announcement brings the total number of UK registered nurse and midwife deaths reported on by Nursing Times during the pandemic to 35.
Mr Zuniga, who received his British citizenship in February this year, worked as a nurse at CHD Living’s Surrey Hills care home before he became ill with the virus.
CHD Living confirmed Mr Zuniga’s death and said it would be holding a minute’s silence tomorrow in his memory and for all other key workers who had died in the coronavirus pandemic as part of a nationwide commemoration organised by unions.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic passing of our beloved colleague Larni Zuniga,” said a statement released by CHD Living.
“Larni, who was a treasured nurse at our Surrey Hills care home, epitomised everything that nursing is about.
“The dedication that he showed to caring for every person in a holistic, kind and compassionate way was second to none and his drive to improve not only his knowledge but that of others around him was commendable.”
The statement said Mr Zuniga was “the centre of our Surrey Hills team and the centre of his family’s world, and he will be sadly missed by everyone that knew him”.
“Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends at this extremely difficult time,” it added.
Mr Zuniga’s death follows that of twin sisters Katy and Emma Davis who died after testing positive with Covid-19.
Nursing Times had previously reported the death of children’s nurse Katy who died on the evening of Tuesday 21 April at Southampton General Hospital.
On Friday, her twin sister, Emma, who was a former nurse in a colorectal surgery unit in Southampton, also died.
Speaking to the BBC, their sister Zoe said the pair, who lived together, had other health conditions and had been unwell for some time.
She said there were “no words to describe how special they were”, adding “all they ever wanted to do was help other people”.
She added that her sisters “gave their everything to all the patients they looked after” and that they were “exceptional”.
Nursing Times has set up a page to remember the nurses and midwives lost during the pandemic.
If you believe we have missed anyone, please contact our news team.