Alice Kit Tak Ong, who worked for the health service for 44 years, was described by her daughter Melissa as “completely dedicated”.
Her family thinks they may have contracted the virus while working without protective equipment during surgery.
Ong came to the UK at the age of 23 to study nursing and joined the health service as soon as she was able.
At 70, she was still working full time in two surgeries and running busy baby clinics until she fell ill with the coronavirus. At first she became self-isolated at home, but when her breathing worsened, her family called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital.
Tuesday morning, two weeks after her admission, she passed away peacefully under the care of doctors and nurses at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
Her daughter, Melissa Ong, 37, said her mother had spent her life helping and caring for others. “She was completely dedicated to her job, which she did until she got sick,” she said. “She loved her job and she loved her patients.”
After graduating, Ong worked first as a midwife and then as a diabetes nurse before working in the community for the past 20 years.
Dr. Amrit Lamba, general practitioner at the Colindale medical center in Barnet, where Ong was the practice nurse, said they shared a passion for treating diabetes and that “Kit”, as she was known, had encouraged and oversaw his own specialization in the area.
“She had talked about retirement, but nursing and medicine were a real passion for her and she would never let go of him,” he said. “Even at the end of her career, she was aware of every development and shared her wisdom with practice. We will miss her and we will remember her very, very fondly. “
Jacqui Tonge, practice manager at the Greenfield Medical Center, where Ong also worked, said she was “loyal, reliable, kind” and always put others first.
“She cared deeply for her patients and was a great mentor and role model for entry-level nurses,” said Tonge. “She was incredibly experienced and competent. We have not only lost a co-worker, we have lost a friend. “
Her family thinks they may have contracted the virus while working in medical offices.
“We don’t know for sure when she got it, but she was working without protective gear,” said her daughter. But, she added, “We accepted it, it did what it liked. “
Ong’s daughter and husband Marcus – whom she met in London and married in 1977 – were unable to go to the hospital to visit him, due to the age of her husband and the underlying health conditions.
But Melissa Ong praised the care her mother had received at the Royal Free. “The nurses and doctors have been fantastic all along. They kept us in touch until the last moment so that she could hear us over the phone, “she said. “I knew she was in good hands, and they were with her in her last moments. “
Ong said the family was inundated with messages of condolence and love.
“She had a very good heart and a very generous personality. Everyone loved him, “she said. “She has always believed in many people.”