Heartbreak after flowers laid in memory of dentist who died with Covid are removed by council

The partner of a much-loved dental surgeon who died after contracting coronavirus said he was left “heartbroken” when the council removed floral tributes laid outside the practice in her memory.

Dr Grazyna Pawlak had travelled to Poland for an operation on her shoulder in July, but ended up staying longer than anticipated to care for her elderly mother.

She had been due to return home to Prestatyn last month, but was unable to fly back due to covid restrictions.

The 69-year-old, who worked at My Dentist on Prestatyn High Street for 14 years, contracted coronavirus and passed away with breathing difficulties last week.

Her devastated partner Kev Thomas arranged for a small memorial to take place outside the practice, where her colleagues laid bunches of flowers on a nearby bench to pay their respects.



June Carter Cash et al. posing for the camera: Dr Grazyna Pawlak with partner Kev Thomas


© Kev Thomas
Dr Grazyna Pawlak with partner Kev Thomas

But they were removed on Tuesday by Denbighshire Council, who have since apologised for the “error” and pledged to replace them.

Kev, who lives on Anglesey said: “It broke my heart. I wanted to do something nice to pay tribute to Grazyna.

“I couldn’t believe it when I found out the council had removed the flowers. I was devastated, as were Grazyna’s colleagues.

“She was very highly thought of in the town and people just wanted to pay their respects as she’d worked in the practice for 14 years and had over 6,000 patients.

“It’s hard enough losing your partner, especially at this time of year, but not being able to go to her funeral and then having this happen too just set me back.”



a vase of flowers sitting on a bench: Floral tributes were laid outside the dental practice in Prestatyn


© Kev Thomas
Floral tributes were laid outside the dental practice in Prestatyn

Kev said he and Grazyna would video call each other every night since she left for Poland, but her health went downhill while she cared for her 94-year-old mother, who also caught coronavirus but recovered.

Sadly, Grazyna, who had one daughter and two grandchildren, died on November 25.

Kev described his partner of three years as someone who would “go out of her way for anyone” and “always put others first”.

She had been a dentist for over over 40 years, spending the first 28 years of her career in the city of Wroclaw.

Tributes have been paid to Grazyna on social media from members of the Prestatyn community.

One said: “Such a tragedy, lovely lady.”

Another wrote: “Very sorry for a big loss.”

One added: “May she rest now, lovely lady will be missed.”

One of Grazyna’s patients said: “Aw no, so sad she was my dentist, she was starting to teach me Polish. Love to all her friends and family.”

A Denbighshire Council spokesman said: “We would like to offer our condolences to Mr Thomas and all those affected.

“The flowers were removed in error.

“The council has spoken to Mr Thomas and apologised for the removal.

“A letter of apology will be written to staff at the dental practice and the council will replace the

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Media Multitasking Disrupts Memory, Even in Young Adults

The bulky, modern human brain evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago and, for the most part, has remained largely unchanged. That is, it is innately tuned to analog information—to focus on the hunt at hand or perhaps the forage for wild plants. Yet we now pummel our ancient thinking organ with a daily deluge of digital information that many scientists believe may have enduring and worrisome effects.

A new study published today in Nature supports the concern. The research suggests that “media multitasking”—or engaging with multiple forms of digital or screen-based media simultaneously, whether they are television, texting or Instagram—may impair attention in young adults, worsening their ability to later recall specific situations or experiences.

The authors of the new paper used electroencephalography—a technique that measures brain activity—and eye tracking to assess attention in 80 young adults between the ages of 18 and 26. The study participants were first presented with images of objects on a computer screen and asked to classify the pleasantness or size of each one. After a 10-minute break, the subjects were then shown additional objects and asked whether they were already classified or new. By analyzing these individuals’ brain and eye responses as they were tasked with remembering, the researchers could identify the number of lapses in their attention. These findings were then compared to the results of a questionnaire the participants were asked to fill out that quantified everyday attention, mind wandering and media multitasking.

Higher reported media multitasking correlated with a tendency toward attentional lapses and decreased pupil diameter, a known marker of reduced attention. And attention gaps just prior to remembering were linked with forgetting the earlier images and reduced brain-signal patterns known to be associated with episodic memory—the recall of particular events.

Previous work had shown a connection between media multitasking and poorer episodic memory. The new findings offer clues as to why this might be the case. “We found evidence that one’s ability to sustain attention helps to explain the relationship between heavier media multitasking and worse memory,” says the paper’s lead author Kevin Madore, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of psychology at Stanford University. “Individuals who are heavier media multitaskers may also show worse memory because they have lower sustained attention ability.”

“This is an impressive study,” comments Daphne Bavelier, a professor of psychology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who was not involved in the new research. “The work is important as it identifies a source of interindividual variability when one is cued to remember information”—the differences in attention among the study participants. “These findings are novel and tell us something important about the relationship between attention and memory, and their link to everyday behavior …, [something] we did not know before,” adds Harvard University psychologist Daniel L. Schacter, who was also not involved in the study.

Madore points out that the new findings are, for now, correlational. They do not indicate if media multitasking leads to impaired attention or if people with worse attention

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