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Going Viral - The Podcast

Jul 16, 2023

As the UK’s independent public inquiry into Covid-19 gets underway, members of the Covid bereaved complain that they are not being given an opportunity to testify.

Today, in the second part of our two-part special, Mark speaks to the parents of Susan Sullivan, a woman with Down's Syndrome who died of Covid-19 at Barnet General Hospital on March 28, 2020, after being deemed “not for resuscitation” and he reveals the findings of a confidential investigation by the Royal Free NHS Hospital Trust into her death. The report, which makes for shocking reading, found that Susan was not seen by a consultant until 20 hours after admission to Barnet’s Accident and Emergency department and that the fact that she had Down’s Syndrome and had been fitted with a pacemaker should not have excluded her from intensive care.

Mark also speaks to Kamran Mallick, the CEO of Disability Rights UK, about what the Sullivan case reveals about the pattern of discrimination experienced by people with learning disabilities across the NHS, and to Dominic Wilkinson, a medical ethicist, who explains the challenge to doctors of weighing the harms and benefits of invasive procedures to patients.

Presented by Mark Honigsbaum @honigsbaum


John and Ida Sullivan / @CovidJusticeuk 

Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK.  / @KamranMallick

Professor Dominic Wilkinson


Professor of Medical Ethics and Director of Medical Ethics at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. Dominic is also a Consultant Neonatologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital and a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College. 

Series Producer: Melissa FitzGerald @Melissafitzg

Cover art by Patrick Blower

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This episode of Going Viral has been produced with the support of a grant from the Higher Education Innovation Fund at City, University of London. It is part of the project, “Commemorating Covid, Remembering Pandemics”,

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