Coronavirus death: Tributes paid to Whittington Hospital porter Nick ‘the general’ Joseph

Nick Joseph. Picture: Matt Scannell

Nick Joseph. Picture: Matt Scannell - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a “humble” Whittington Hospital porter who reportedly died with Covid-19 on April 12.

Tributes have been paid to a “humble” Whittington Hospital porter who reportedly died with Covid-19 on April 12.

Nick “the general” Joseph, 69, had worked at the Archway hospital since 1993 – and was well liked and respected by his colleagues.

Nick wasn’t tested for Covid-19 but friends who spoke with him on his deathbed say he had symptoms of the coronavirus.

Campaigners observing social distancing rules are due to hold a minutes silence outside the hospital at 11am on Tuesday to honour key workers who have died with Covid-19.

Nick worked with Matt Scannell for 16 years and trained him to be a porter.

Matt, who’s now a portering controller, told the Gazette: “It was a shock to everyone in the hospital, it was a bitter blow because he was usually a fit man and when he went off sick we didn’t expect it. We spoke to him on the Sunday and he said: ‘I’m not feeling well at all’. We said to call an ambulance. He called 111 and they said to stay indoors, they obviously didn’t realise how ill he was. He sounded really poorly and short of breath.”

Nick died that evening.

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“We were absolutely devastated,” added Matt. “We didn’t see it coming. He was a quiet man and he was very humble. He wouldn’t approach you if he didn’t know you very well but he was very friendly and approachable. He was always a true gentleman and he had a very nice, cheeky sense of humour – in a respectful way.

“He trained up all the porters, pretty much, in the hospital. If anyone rang up for a job they would request for Nick to come and do it because they knew it would get done properly.”

Matt said Nick had access to personal protective equipment (PPE), and said staff at the hospital haven’t gone without the gear during the pandemic.

A Whittington Hospital nurse named Shamilah, who’d been off work on maternity leave, has also died during the pandemic – but it’s not known if she had the virus.

As of 5pm on Sunday, at least 96 patients have died with Covid-19 at the Whittington.

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