Much-loved Wigan hospital worker's inquest opens

An inquest has opened into the death of a Wigan hospital worker and cancer survivor.

Karen Wilkes passed away at the height of the first coronavirus wave last April and at first it was wrongly thought her death was linked to the illness.

But health chiefs later set the record straight, saying that the Pemberton 62-year-old health care assistant’s death was unrelated to the pandemic.

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However, she was saluted along with midwife Linda Clarke, and an unnamed paramedic and man who worked for the borough hospital trust’s sterile services decontamination unit who had succumbed to the disease at a moving Clap for Carers event outside Wigan Infirmary in late April.

Karen WilkesKaren Wilkes
Karen Wilkes

At the ceremony Silas Nicholls, chief executive at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Karen was 62 and worked in our urgent care service for more than 10 years, caring compassionately for patients in the Wigan borough.

“Karen will be sadly missed by her colleagues and our thoughts and condolences are with her family, friends and loved ones.

“Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will continue to support them throughout this difficult time.”

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Ms Wilkes gave an interview in 2014 about her battle with lung cancer after it was diagnosed by a routine scan for a dull ache in her arm in 2010.

It came only shortly after her father had died of lung and liver cancer, but treatment in Ms Wilkes’s case put her into remission and her interview was in support of a new campaign from The Christie hospital urging people not to stick their heads in the sand if they have symptoms which may suggest they have cancer.

The brief hearing at Bolton Coroner’s Court into Ms Wilkes’s death was adjourned until a date yet to be set.

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