A 73-year-old man has died from coronavirus after being taken to the hospital by a mental health nurse, whose car he crashed into while making a desperate attempt to get food following ten days in isolation.
The elderly man, who has not been named, was delirious and grey-faced when he bumped cars with Lucy Duncan, 24, a mental health nurse from Atherton, Lancashire, on Thursday evening.
Sweating from the symptoms of coronavirus the man told Ms Duncan that he had not eaten for ten days and believed he had the virus, grabbing her arm for support as she tended to him.
The elderly man, who has not been named, was delirious when he bumped cars with Lucy Duncan, 24, (pictured) a mental health nurse from Atherton, Lancashire, on Thursday evening
Ms Duncan, who had just finished a 12 hour shift at the North West Boroughs NHS Trust and did not have full protective equipment, called an ambulance and stayed with the man for five hours as he taken to the resuscitation fighting for breath.
During lucid moments, he told her he had no family apart from a son who he had not spoken to for years and that he had not eaten for up to ten days due to self-isolating.
The kindhearted nurse is now attempting to trace the man's son believed to be in Milton Keynes, who the elderly gentleman had asked her to trace before his death.
Lucy had been driving her Fiat 500X home from Wigan Infirmary at about 7.45pm on Thursday night (26 March) when she spotted a red Vauxhall Corsa coming in the opposite direction.
Lucy said: 'I could see he was veering onto the wrong side of the road and then, as we passed, the front end of his car hit the side of mine.
Lucy had been driving her Fiat 500X home from Wigan Infirmary at about 7.45pm on Thursday night (26 March) when she collided with the gentleman's red Vauxhall Corsa
'I wasn't hurt, only shocked. I turned the car round and thought that he had pulled over too, but actually he was driving very slowly.
'I followed and he turned down School Street and came to a stop.
'It was dark at the back of houses and I suppose I should have been more careful but the adrenaline was going and as I approached the car I could see that he was an elderly man.'
Lucy offered to help the stricken pensioner, who she said was 'grey and streaming with sweat'.
She added: 'He was in poor shape. He was also struggling to speak and breathe. He grabbed my arms and I leaned in to him and he said 'I'm sorry but I think I have coronavirus'.
'He was really confused and drifting in and out of consciousness.
'When he was alert he seemed more concerned for the car damage and reassured me that he had comprehensive insurance.
'I told him I was more worried about him than the cars and that he needed an ambulance. I went to my car and luckily had a mask with me but no further personal protection equipment.
'He had gone out in his car to get some food and essentials, as he knew he would die without them. He said he didn't trust other people as there were a lot of horrible people in the world.'
Paramedics arrived and took the man to hospital with Lucy following in her car.
She stayed there for several hours while he underwent various tests including one which showed that his lungs were only working at 50 per cent capacity.
Following his death Lucy told the BBC: 'He asked me if I would help him get in touch with his son... it is going to be something I am going to try my hardest to do for him,' she explained.
He was 'almost surprised when I kept going back to him [in the hospital]'.
'His eyes lit up every time I went back and held his hand. It was amazing to be part of his life.'
Lucy is now self-isolating for the next fortnight which has meant her mum, brother and his girlfriend have had to move out of the family home.
She shared the tragic story on Facebook in a post that has been shared more than 30,000 times and received more than 125,000 likes.
Thousands of well-wishers told Lucy she is a 'hero' for what she did off-duty.
Lucy said she was 'overwhelmed' by the response and added: 'What people have said has been wonderful and I have cried.
'But really I can't think anyone else would have done any different if they had been in my situation.'
Simon Barber, Chief Executive at North West Boroughs Healthcare, said: 'Lucy's story is absolutely fantastic. It brought a tear to my eye.
'I spoke to her earlier to say a massive thank you and well done in person and she really is the most genuinely caring person.
'I'm not surprised she's been overwhelmed by all the messages of support - it's pretty incredible how much attention her social media post has attracted.
'I and the rest of North West Boroughs Healthcare are so very proud of Lucy's quick-thinking and selfless actions to help someone in need.
'She is everything we could possibly want our staff to be.'