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What got my mum through coronavirus? I don’t know but we just kept on calling her

Community centre manager's half-paralysed survives Covid-19

10 May, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Foyezur Miah gets help from Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party

A HALF-paralysed coronavirus patient has been successfully discharged from the Royal Free Hospital after being helped through her ordeal by regular video calls with her family.

Tasira Begum was able to hear her loved-ones after ward staff set up a phone pointing to her bed, which automatically answered each time someone called.

The 68-year-old was not able to answer the phone on her own and has been in a wheelchair since a stroke in 2013.

Her son Foyezur Miah, the chief executive of Queen’s Crescent Community Association, said the phone had been his family’s “lifeline” and that she had been “filled with life” during the calls.

Tasira Begum spent two and half weeks in the Royal Free

He said: “She was in there for two and half weeks and it was particularly difficult because are a very close-knit family. She is half-paralysed and because of this we were told they would not do CPR, the ventilator, operate or induce a coma. “t very difficult because we couldn’t go to see her and because she was on her own we couldn’t contact her either. So they set up this system that whenever we called her it would automatically open Facetime, and loudspeaker. It was so important to us all, as a family.”

Mr Miah said that on the twelfth day in the Hampstead hospital Ms Begum had appeared to deteriorate, adding: “We were talking to her but she was really just looking back at the screen – it felt like she might be giving up. “I don’t know how she pulled through, but wanted her to feel the presence of her family. She wasn’t really talking to us, but then she heard her grandchild screaming in the background and she would suddenly be filled with life. We then would get all the kids around to give her that stimulation she needed.”

Mr Miah said his daughter had given up her iPhone so that Ms Begum could have it while she was being treated in the Pond Street hospital.

He added: “My advice to anyone with a relative in hospital is to use all the technology we have. Give them a phone that can automatically turn on. It’s a simple thing, but it is so important to be able to maintain communication with a loved one from home.”

His community centre is currently running a food bank during the coronavirus lockdown, which was visited by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and council leader Georgia Gould this week.

Mr Miah added: “I want to thank all the nurses and doctors for everything that they have done. They made sure the phone was charged, the stand was facing the right way. They knew the importance of her connecting with her family. It was our lifeline.”

A fortnight ago, the Royal Free announced that it had discharged 500 patients successfully since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Hospital nurses have been pinning butterfly badges to a mural in the Hampstead hospital for every success story.

Royal Free chief executive Kate Slemeck said: “Our staff tell us that seeing patients go home gives a great feeling of positivity and pleasure. Staff are also very aware that not every family will get their loved one home but recognise the importance of celebrating stories of recovery to give people real hope during these very challenging times.”

A week after shooting, leader hands out meals

SIR Keir Starmer helped hand-out more than 100 meals from the Queen’s Crescent Community Centre on Monday night, writes Tom Foot.

The Labour leader and Holborn and St Pancras MP attended one week after a man staggered into the centre with a gun­shot wounds during the takeaway food service. The service is being run at sundown as part of Ramadan but anyone attending can get a healthy meal, fruit and drink.

Mr Starmer, who runs his surgery in the centre, said: “This is hugely needed and the QCCC is yet again here in the heart of helping community providing for that need. The staff work really hard, and they deal with very difficult situations – as we saw last week.” No one has been arrested for last week’s shooting. As well as the evening Iftar meals hand-outs, the centre has transformed into food bank with its hall stacked with food and toiletries. It is delivering food to people in their homes and also to care homes as far away as West Hampstead.

Chief executive Foyezur Miah, who does all the shopping, said: “We just want to be able to support the community right now.”

QCCA is fundraising for the food bank at


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