The family of Stephen Hawking, one of the world's best-known theoretical physicists, has donated his ventilator to a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in Cambridge to add to the additional supplies required during the coronavirus pandemic to treat the infected patients.
The 76-year-old physicist, who had motor neurone disease, used the ventilator constantly from 2013 until his death in 2018. His daughter, 49-year-old Lucy Hawking, said her father had received "brilliant, dedicated and compassionate" medical care at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, also his home, and therefore his relatives were delighted to be able to play a small part in the battle against the coronavirus.
"As a ventilated patient, Royal Papworth was incredibly important to my father and helped him through some very difficult times. We realised that it would be at the forefront of the COVID-19 epidemic and got in touch with some of our old friends there to ask if we could help," Lucy said. "After our father passed away, we returned all the medical equipment he used that belonged to the NHS but there were some items which he bought for himself. We are now passing them to the NHS in the hope they will help in the fight against COVID-19," she said.
The hospital said the ventilator has now been added to its fleet after an inspection by the hospital's clinical engineering team. Mike Davies, clinical director for respiratory medicine at Papworth Hospital, said: "It was lovely to hear from the Hawking family again and we are so grateful for them for donating this equipment.
The Royal Papworth Hospital said it has expanded its critical care department to more than double its usual size due to the increasing number of coronavirus admissions.
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