Corby gran's Covid death is part of landmark legal action
and live on Freeview channel 276
Legal action being taken by 30 families against government, care homes and several hospitals includes the son of a Corby woman who died in the early days of the Covid pandemic.
The group will be claiming damages from the institutions in England over the deaths of their relatives.
James Steele, whose much-loved mum Elizabeth – known as Betty – died during the pandemic, is standing with other families who argue not enough was done to protect their loved ones.
Represented by law firm Leigh Day, the families have filed claims for damages for loss of life, personal injuries, pain and suffering, anxiety, distress, and feelings of injustice.
The families argue the loss of their loved ones was a breach of their human rights. Families say the breaches occurred through the state’s failure to comply with its obligations to protect the right to life.
All the cases concern deaths in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when patients infected with Covid-19 were being transferred from hospitals into care homes.
The claims are being brought in light of the Gardner judgment that concluded the Department of Health discharge policy ‘simply failed to take into account the highly relevant consideration of the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from asymptomatic transmission’.
In March 2020 elderly hospital patients were discharged into care homes without testing or a requirement for them to isolate – allowing asymptomatic transmission of the virus.
The government said at the time it had put a ‘protective ring’ around care home residents.
Wellingborough resident James Steele’s mum Elizabeth Steel died in Kettering General Hospital on May 10, 2020.
Leigh Day partner Emma Jones said: “You cannot under estimate the impact of the tragic loss of life, losing a loved one in such harrowing circumstances, has had on our clients.
"We hope that through bringing these cases there will be a full and thorough investigation into the deaths, which might help our clients to feel they have obtained justice for their loved ones.”Leigh Day solicitor Beatrice Morgan said: “Our clients believe that the guidance issued by the Health Secretary in the early weeks of the pandemic led to thousands of unnecessary deaths. Many feel strongly that rather than trying to protect older people during that time, the guidance put their loved ones at an avoidable risk of harm.”
After mum-of-seven Betty died, her son and carer James, his family, friends and supporters paid for more than 300 crosses that were placed on Rothwell Road, on grass in front of Kettering General Hospital.
Betty moved down to Corby from Paisley, Scotland, with her young family for a fresh start on the Exeter estate, joining old school friends who had already made the move.