Hospital pays tribute to ‘loving’ healthcare assistant after Covid-19 death

Tributes have poured in for a “lovable, caring and responsible” healthcare assistant who died after contracting Covid-19.

Norman Austria, 61, who worked at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB), died on Wednesday after being treated for coronavirus at Royal Derby Hospital.

Colleagues at the Trust said his memory would live on in the song You Are My Sunshine, which he would often be heard singing to calm and reassure patients.

Gavin Boyle, chief executive at UHDB, said: “Whilst we did not get to work with Norman for very long, he epitomised the Trust values and consistently demonstrated care and compassion towards his patients. Nothing was too much trouble, he was always happy to make time to chat with his patients.

“Norman’s energy and smile will be sadly missed by the whole ward and the wider team… our thoughts are with Norman’s family at this sad time.”

Royal Derby Hospital (University Hospitals of Derby and Burton)

Mr Austria was originally from the Philippines, and was married to his wife Shirley for 40 years.

“Norman was a very lovable, caring and responsible person,” she said. “We were married for 40 years and he was a wonderful husband. He was very proud of his family and loved his children and grandchildren very much.

“Everybody who met Norman loved him and he quickly formed friendships. He was very giving and would always be available to help anybody who needed it. He loved music and regularly played guitar. We will miss him so much.”

The Trust said that the loss of Mr Austria along with three other colleagues marks an “upsetting time for the UHDB family”.

“We still have many difficult days ahead, but our staff continue to make a real difference and I can only thank them for everything they are doing in this most difficult of times,” Mr Boyle said.

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