Tributes paid to ‘one in a million’ NHS nurse Aimee gave her life to save others
Tributes have been paid to an NHS nurse who “gave her life to make sure other people survived” during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mother-of-three Aimee O’Rourke, 39, died on Thursday night, after the nation joined together for another one-minute clap in support of NHS workers.
Ms O’Rourke, who joined East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust as a newly qualified nurse in 2017, was described as “a wonderful friend and colleague”.
Her ward manager Julie Gammon, who sat with the nurse upon her admission to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate after falling ill with the virus, said: “She was such a kind and caring nurse, and she had a really special relationship with her patients and colleagues.
“Nursing was something she had always wanted to do, although she came to it relatively late after raising her girls.
“She took some time out to care for her mum after she was diagnosed with cancer and she was determined to return and to make her mum proud.
“Aimee was a really valuable part of our work family and would always offer to help if she could. She was really growing and developing in her skills and confidence and I know she would have gone on to have a great career.”
Ms O’Rourke’s daughter, Megan Murphy, described her as an “angel”.
In a Facebook tribute, she said: “Look at all the lives you looked after and all the families you comforted when patients passed away.
“You are an angel and you will wear your NHS crown forevermore because you earned that crown the very first day you started.”
On Thursday, Ms Murphy had posted on social media urging people to shout her mother’s name during the 8pm nationwide clap for NHS staff, before her condition deteriorated further.
Amanda Hallums, chief nurse at East Kent Hospitals, said everyone who worked alongside Ms O’Rourke was heartbroken at her death.
She said: “We are a work family and it is devastating to lose one of our own.
“Aimee was determined to provide the best possible care to all of her patients and continued to come to work at a time when others were staying at home and inside.
“We will forever remember her smile, her concern for her patients and her colleagues, and her willingness to always go above and beyond.”
Friend Lucy Page wrote: “Aimee taught to me fight for what I believe in and gave me courage so many times to do it.
“I was even more lucky not only to be her friend but her work colleague as well and I cannot tell how many times I saw her fighting for what was right for her patients.
“Aimee loved all her three beautiful girls, friends and family so much and she would go to any lengths to protect them.”
Kayley Walke added: “Life is so unfair. You were a wonderful friend and colleague. There will be a huge part of our team missing.”
Leah Sansom said she was “one in a million”.
A memorial fund has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/f/aimee039s-memory-fund
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