Stephen Hawking’s family donates his ventilator to the NHS
Hawking was a lifelong advocate of the United Kingdom’s public health system.
The family of acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking has donated his ventilator to a National Health Service hospital that had treated him in Cambridge, the English university city where he lived and worked, to help care for coronavirus patients.
The scientist died in March 2018 at age 76 after a lifetime spent probing the origins of the universe. He was diagnosed with a rare early-onset form of motor neurone disease at the age of 21. He was a lifelong advocate of the NHS, lambasting ministers who sought to cut or privatise its services.
“Professor Stephen Hawking’s family has donated his ventilator to Royal Papworth Hospital as we care for increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients,” the hospital said on Wednesday.
The United Kingdom’s government has faced criticism over its procurement of medical ventilators since it emerged the country had not been involved in a European Union-wide bulk-buy scheme.
There were 763 new coronavirus deaths reported on Wednesday, taking the total number of those who have died in hospital after having contracted the virus to 18,100. The true death toll, including those who have died in nursing homes and at home, is expected to be many thousands higher than has been officially reported so far.
The mathematician’s daughter, Lucy Hawking, described the care her father had received at the Royal Papworth as “brilliant, dedicated and compassionate”, it said.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Hawking family for supporting us at this challenging time,” said the hospital, which is a world-leading centre for heart and lung transplants.
The medical equipment was bought by Hawking himself, the BBC reported, and, after checks, had been added to the hospital’s inventory.
Source: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES