PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Shattering human cost of putting Covid first

PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Shattering human cost of putting Covid first

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Shattering human cost of putting Covid first is shown by the harrowing story of La’Troya Hall’s husband who died of cancer

Has any story of grief in this terrible Covid year been quite so harrowing as that of La’Troya Hall?

Has any tale brought home so heart-stoppingly the human cost of our failure to treat cancer patients as we should have during the pandemic?

Yesterday in the Mail, La’Troya told of her husband Sherwin’s death from cancer. ‘He would almost certainly still be here today . . . if the NHS had not prioritised Covid above all else,’ she said.

It was February, and they were ‘so, so happy’, before he felt an excruciating pain in his groin. He visited A&E 13 times, begging for a scan.

But due to Covid, MRI scans were unavailable — so he was fobbed off.

By the time his condition was diagnosed, it was too late. The cancer had spread; 30 tumours were found in his lungs and he died aged just 28, leaving La’Troya a widow, alone at 32 with their baby son Sancho.

Has any story of grief in this terrible Covid year been quite so harrowing as that of La’Troya Hall? (pictured with husband Sherwin and son Sancho)

More than 650,000 cancer patients have had life-saving treatment disrupted since the virus took hold, and 4.4 million scans for the disease have been cancelled. La’Troya’s ordeal tells us what these bald statistics mean in human terms.

Her tragic story coincided this week with another one, also desperately moving, related on Radio 4’s Today programme by Sue Martin, 49, about her husband Mal, 58, who was given ‘zero chance’ of surviving after he contracted Covid and was in a coma for 61 days.

She told of the day she took their two children to his bedside to say their final goodbyes, of how they sobbed over their father thinking they would never see him again.

Yet, miraculously, thanks to the tireless care of NHS nurses and doctors, he survived.

He’s lost the sight in one eye. He’s got problems with dizziness, with his lungs and kidneys, and he’s had amputations of a thumb and fingers. But this Christmas he will be with his family. And we should all celebrate that.

Tragically, however, La’Troya and Sancho won’t have Sherwin at home. One wife rejoicing, one grieving. Only one daddy home for Christmas.

What a terrible burden these stories will be for the decision makers who put Covid before the Big C in the years to come.

Sad to see Gillian Anderson and The Crown writer Peter Morgan have separated after four years. Perhaps even he couldn’t stomach her ludicrous portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the series — it must have felt like going to bed with a Spitting Image puppet. 

Sad to see Gillian Anderson and The Crown writer Peter Morgan have separated after four years

Comfort for all those grieving 

Happy Christmas to all of you. And don’t we need all the felicitations we can get in this of all years? So many people can’t offer hugs to their parents, or grandparents, whether they live in care homes or are sheltering in their own homes.

Sad though that is, it simply isn’t worth the risk of giving them Covid. In a way, I’m lucky, having lost my parents nearly two years ago — as I can’t imagine not being able to embrace my mum and dad.

And for those grieving as I was that Christmas, I offer one thought, a quotation from 19th-century American writer Robert G Ingersoll, which I read at my brother Michael’s funeral decades ago, and which still gives me comfort: ‘In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.’

Keeping up with the Jones!  

Can it really be 25 years since Bridget Jones captivated us with her diaries, emancipating big pants for women everywhere?

Author Helen Fielding’s novel is now considered one of the 100 most important tomes in the English language, on a par with Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice.

No surprises there — she named her romantic lead Mark Darcy after Austen’s classic, even casting Colin Firth after he had played Mr Darcy in the 1995 adaptation. But, Fielding an equal to Austen?

Pants to that.

Can it really be 25 years since Bridget Jones captivated us with her diaries, emancipating big pants for women everywhere?

Dubbed the King of the North for his staunch defence of Manchester during lockdown, Andy Burnham laments to glamour magazine Grazia that so much attention is paid to his Bambi eyelashes and lustrous hair —rather than his job as mayor.

If all else fails, Andy, there’s a job ahead with L’Oreal . . .

because you’re worth it.

2020 may be HM’s crowning glory . . . 

Harry and Megs racking up multi-million pound deals in the U.S. Prince Andrew mired in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Covid on top of everything. And Netflix series The Crown portraying the royals as beastly braying brats.

You could be forgiven for thinking the Queen feels she’s suffered another annus horribilis.

Yet there is a silver lining to all these woes. With Harry and Meghan out of the way, and Prince Andrew dismissed from service, the Firm’s core team has stepped up. Kate and Wills look happier than ever together, as do Charles and Camilla, and Covid’s meant the Queen and Philip are spending blissful time with each other.

Even The Crown’s assassination of the royals has done them a service by bolstering support for them.

The truth is the monarchy has seldom looked so secure, and far from ‘horribilis’ our 94- year-old Queen may look back on 2020 as her ‘annus mirabilis’.

Westminster Wars 

  • Disappointing that the PM broke with tradition and instead of posting a Yuletide picture of his wife and children on the steps of No 10, sent a picture of his mutt, Dilyn. I’m guessing he did not want to upset his two ex-wives and his six or so other kids — choosing to let sleeping dogs lie.
  • Sidelined from the Labour Party after the anti-Semitism row, Jeremy Corbyn is setting up a Peace and Justice Project to defend human rights and decency around the World. Pardon the belly laugh. He was Labour leader for five years and none of us ever realised he had a sense of humour.
  • Outrage at Dominic Cummings’ 40 per cent pay rise which took the PM’s chief adviser’s salary to £140,000. Frankly, I was surprised that the man who engineered both the Brexit victory and a stonking 80-seat majority for Boris was paid so little. Back in 2001 as William Hague’s spin doctor, I was paid £100,000 to help lead the Tories to another historic defeat, gaining only one seat.

What a joy if the bookies’ favourite, comedian Bill Bailey, 55, becomes the oldest celebrity to win Strictly this weekend, seeing off youngsters Hrvy and Maisie, who have previous dancing experience and a combined age of 40. In a dull world where older folk feel powerless, this is our chance to make a difference. Vote for Bill, as I will — humming quietly that old classic: ‘Won’t You Come Home (with the glitterball), Bill Bailey.’

What a joy if the bookies’ favourite, comedian Bill Bailey, 55, becomes the oldest celebrity to win Strictly this weekend, seeing off youngsters Hrvy and Maisie, who have previous dancing experience and a combined age of 40

I’m with Noel Gallagher of Oasis when he said of Prince Harry’s ‘save the world with compassion’ podcast: ‘Surely no one takes him seriously? He’s just a mad little kid.’ And one who can’t stop looking back in anger from his £11 million mansion in California. 

Love Island’s Laura Whitmore, and her partner, comedian Iain Stirling, post pictures of her and her baby bump. She’s in underwear and high heels saying she’s ‘always tried to be protective about her personal life’. Perhaps the joke’s on us.

Amanda’s Talent for half a frock! 

Perhaps the rumours are true that when Simon Cowell gets back from his terrible spinal injury he plans to shake up his Britain’s Got Talent judging team and slash costs. Only that could explain why Amanda Holden seems able only to afford half a dress.

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