Monday, 24 Jan 2022

Junior doctor who worked during pandemic drowned after boozy night out with pals

A junior doctor who worked on a Covid ward at the height of the pandemic died after taking a late-night swim during a night out drinking with friends, an inquest has heard.

The body of 26-year-old Thirushika Sathialingam was found in Margate Harbour, Kent, by coastguards at 5.45am on September 11 this year.

Her friends had called police after she failed to return home with them that night.

Lifeboat crews, police, firefighters and a coastguard rescue helicopter were all involved in the search, as that harbour is the last place she was seen alive.

Her death was ruled by assistant coroner Joanne Andrews as submersion in water, with alcohol intoxication being a contributory factor.

Before her death, she was working as a junior doctor on a respiratory ward at The Queen Mother Hospital, where she had started working just before the pandemic began.

At the time of her death, her father, who also worked at the hospital said: “Every parent thinks their child is special but she truly was, and it is only now that I am realising how much good advice she gave me and how wise she was.

“She always had time to listen to people, and enjoyed looking after her patients.

“During the second wave of Covid she was on a respiratory ward with people who had the virus and she would sit and talk to them, holding their hands to give them comfort.

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“She was not afraid to double-check things with consultants if she felt something was not right and she was passionate about her work."

Her brother Kaushaliyan is also a junior doctor at the same hospital.
He described is sister as a “fantastic doctor” who “loved that medicine was such a complex subject”.

East Kent Hospitals’ chief executive Susan Acott described the talented doctor’s death as a “huge loss” to the Trust.

She said: “Thiru was a real shining star who had quickly made her mark with her caring nature and her passion for her patients.

“It is clear she would have had a bright future ahead of her and I have no doubt she had the potential to achieve anything she set her heart on.

“Our thoughts are with her family and her many friends and colleagues."

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