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British Ghanaian mother trains to become nurse after husband’s death

A mum-of-three whose husband died with Covid wants to become a nurse after seeing the “compassion” he was shown in hospital.

Rachel Ohene-Adjei’s husband, Eric, 46, died in April after seven weeks in intensive care at University Hospital of Wales (UHW), Cardiff.

Rachel said a consultant held her hand as she said goodbye to her husband.

She has started studying GCSE maths and English again on the road to her new career.

Rachel married Eric in 2007 after meeting him in a “love at first sight moment” in a bar in 2003.

The couple had three children together – Isaac, 12, Jacob, nine, and Ebony, eight.

Eric and kids
Rachel said her children enjoy looking at old videos and photos of their father, and the happy memories help them to remember him in a positive way after he was in hospital for so long

Rachel, from Cardiff, left school without passing GCSE maths and English after she struggled with shyness and asking for help, but said Eric helped build up her confidence.

She said: “Anything I wanted to do, he’d say ‘you can do it’, he was so, so positive.

“I went from being a shy girl who’d walk with her head down to being able to speak for myself and that was because of the way he made me.”

Eric tested positive for Covid in February and was admitted to UHW in Cardiff, but died almost two months later.

“I’ve got nothing but praise for every single member of staff who took the time to calm me, to give me the information I asked for or needed,” she said.

“They were just amazing.”

For the first time since Eric’s death, Rachel has spoken to Dr Nick Stallard, the consultant who held her hand as she went to her husband’s bedside for the final time.

She told him: “I don’t know if you realise but your presence and your compassion and everything you and your staff did for myself and Eric… I am so amazingly grateful to you all.

“The way you spoke to me, how you held my hand. It meant so much to me and it helped me with my grieving.

“Because of everything you all did I’ve decided to start college and so I’m doing a pre-access to nursing course. I’d like to give back to families what you did for us.”

Dr Stallard told her: “You’ve made an amazing decision to go into nursing. That’s fantastic news.

“I’m sure once you’ve finished your degree we’d welcome you with open arms.

“I’m sure if Eric, if he was here, would be clapping his hands at you making that decision.”

Rachel started her GCSE courses in maths and English in September, and hopes to one day work in intensive care.

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