Three medics, two based in Florida and one in New York, have died due to coronavirus this week after working on the front lines to help patients stricken with COVID-19.
Miami intensive care unit nurse Araceli Buendia Ilagan, 63, passed away on Saturday to complications of the virus, Jackson Memorial Hospital confirmed.
Her death comes four days after the passing of Dr. Alex Hsu, 67, who had worked at Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida, and died due to complications of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday New York City nurse Kious Kelly, 48, passed away after his hospital Mount Sinai Hospital West suffered a shortage of medical protective equipment that forced some nurses to wear trash bags.
Their tragic deaths serve as a somber reminder of the dire risks doctors and nurses face in working with coronavirus patients as hospitals report shortages of equipment, testing kits, and health care workers.
Nationwide there are over 123,000 cases of coronavirus and over 2,000 deaths.
Medical experts warn the contagious COVID-19 will continue to spread across the country as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s foremost infection disease expert, predicts the US could see between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.
Miami nurse Araceli Buendia Ilagan, 63, (left) passed away this week due to complications of COVID-19, her hospital confirmed Saturday. Her death comes four days after the passing of Dr. Alex Hsu, 67, (right) who worked at Northwest Medical Center in Margate, and died due to complications of COVID-19 on Tuesday
New York City nurse Kious Kelly, 48, (above) passed away on Tuesday after his hospital Mount Sinai Hospital West in Manhattan suffered from a shortage of medical protective equipment
A shocking photo posted to Facebook shows three nurses at Mount Sinai West wearing black garbage bags as makeshift protective gowns due to a shortage of protective equipment
Ilagan was an integral part of the Jackson Memorial hospital who mentored and trained other nurses and worked for Miami-Dade’s public hospital system since the 1980’s.
‘Our Jackson Health System family is mourning the death of longtime Jackson nurse Araceli Buendia Ilagan, who recently died from complications of COVID-19,’ the hospital said in a statement.
‘Araceli dedicated nearly 33 years of her life treating some of our most critically ill patients.’
Ilagan worked her last shift at Jackson Memorial’s ICU on Tuesday. However, it’s not clear when she became ill or how many patients and coworkers she may have had contact with, according to the Miami Herald.
She’s also the second Jackson Health nurse to test positive for the virus in March.
‘As we battle this global public health crisis, caregivers throughout the world are bravely serving on the front lines, often putting their patients’ lives before theirs. These medical professionals – people like Araceli – are the true heroes, and we salute them all,’ the hospital said in the statement.
According to records, Ilagan lived in Pembroke Pines and became licensed as a registered nurse in Florida in 1982 and then an advanced practice registered nurse in 1991.
Her brother shared a post on Facebook praising her as a ‘true hero in the fight against COVID-19’.
‘My sister Araceli Buendia Ilagan, a nurse in Miami, Florida since 1981 was a victim of this Covid-19. She was nursing those patients with the said virus in their hospital and unfortunately contracted and became unwell,’ he shared Saturday.
Ilagan’s brother Roy Buendia shared this Facebook post praising her as a ‘true hero in the flight against COVID-19’
Araceli Buendia Ilagan worked as a nurse in the ICU unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami (hospital above). She worked her last shift there on Tuesday then self isolated. It’s not clear when she first fell ill or what patients or co-workers she could have passed the contagious disease to
‘She preferred to self-isolate for days however she lost her battle and sadly passed away early this morning. My dearest sister, we admired you for your dedication on your profession. We are very, very proud of you. You’re a true « Hero » in this fight against Covid-19. We love you so much and you will be in our hearts forever,’ he shared.
A friend from Ilagan shared a tribute on Facebook writing, ‘Too close to home … and rest in paradise’.
According to the labor union that represents the 5,000 doctors and nurses at Ilagan’s employer Jackson Health, there is enough protective gear for nurses and doctors who care for patients. Those supplies are now kept under a lock and key as a precaution.
‘A humanitarian in the greatest measure possible passed away too soon,’ Roland More, a physician graduate who completed his clinical rotations under Hsu, said in a tribute on social media
The union says the greatest challenge for doctors and nurses is the lack of testing that would allow medical workers to identify and isolate COVID-19 positive patients earlier on and with more efficiency.
Her death follows on the heels of Broward County doctor Alex Hsu’s tragic passing, after he served his community for 40 years.
His death was the region’s first case where a medical provider died of the disease.
Hsu was in private practice and until 2017 had been associated Northwest Medical Center in Margate.
However, officials haven’t said whether he contracted COVID-19 from traveling abroad or work-related circumstances. It’s not clear when he became ill, according to the Sun Sentinel.
‘A humanitarian in the greatest measure possible passed away too soon,’ Roland More, a physician graduate who completed his clinical rotations under Hsu, said in a tribute on social media.
Kious Kelly, an assistant nursing manager at Mount Sinai West, died on Tuesday, a week after he was admitted upon testing positive for coronavirus.
His hospital was suffering from a severe shortage in medical protecting equipment.
A shocking photo posted to Facebook shows three nurses at Mount Sinai West wearing black garbage bags as makeshift protective gowns.
‘NO MORE GOWNS IN THE WHOLE HOSPITAL,’ the caption on the photo reads.
‘NO MORE MASKS AND REUSING THE DISPOSABLE ONES…NURSES FIGURING IT OUT DURING COVID-19 CRISIS.’
Kious Kelly, an assistant nursing manager at Mount Sinai West, died on Tuesday, a week after he was admitted upon testing positive for coronavirus. ‘Today, we lost another hero – a compassionate colleague, friend and selfless caregiver,’ Mount Sinai said in a statement when asked about Kelly’s death
Kelly’s sister Marya Patrice Sherron shared this heartbroken post on Facebook saying her brother was healthy before the virus hit
Dr Hsu’s death was the region’s first case where a medical provider died of the disease. Hsu was in private practice and until 2017 had been associated Northwest Medical Center in Margate (above)
Kelly’s last correspondence with his sister was on March 18 in which he told her he tested positive for COVID-19 and was on a ventilator in the intensive care unit and couldn’t speak on the phone, but could text.
‘I’m okay. Don’t tell Mom and Dad. They’ll worry,’ he wrote to his sister Marya Patrice Sherron.
Less than a week later he passed away.
His sister said Kelly had asthma but was otherwise healthy.
‘His death could have been prevented…I’m angry. He was healthy,’ she wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
Kelly’s nursing school classmate Annie K. Lee expressed her sorrow at his death in a moving Facebook post.
‘I still remember hugging Kious on graduation day. I am at a loss for words and cannot even begin to describe how sorry I am, that the world has lost a flame as bright as you, in this unforgiving Coronavirus worldwide pandemic,’ she wrote.
Lee issued an urgent plea to the public to support healthcare workers, writing: ‘GIVE your unnecessarily stocked masks, N95s, N99s, gloves, isolation gowns, and Medical Protective Gear to your local hospitals.’
On Sunday Mayor Bill de Blasio somberly announced city hospitals are only equipped to last the next week before running out of crucial medical supplies.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, Mount Sinai Health System wrote: ‘We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff.’
‘The safety of our staff and patients has never been of greater importance and we are taking every precaution possible to protect everyone,’ the statement continued.
‘But this growing crisis is not abating and has already devastated hundreds of families in New York and turned our frontline professionals into true American heroes. Today, we lost another hero – a compassionate colleague, friend and selfless caregiver.’
At least four staffers who worked with Kelly have also tested positive for the coronavirus, and there are nine coronavirus patients being treated in the telemetry monitoring unit where he worked, according to the New York Post.
As of Sunday there are over 123,000 cases of coronavirus in the US and over 2,000 deaths
This map shows major hotspots of COVID-19. Florida is one of them with over 4,000 cases and 56 deaths
As of Sunday morning there are over 4,200 cases of coronavirus in Florida state and there have been a total of 56 deaths. In the state of New York there are over 54,000 cases and over 800 deaths.
Coronavirus is not just pummeling the population and wearing out hospital workers, but it’s also gravely effecting first responders and paramedics.
In New York, members of the Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services – also known as FDNY EMS – are forced to sleep in their cars to avoid infecting their loved ones.
According to FDNY EMS officers union VP Anthony Almojera, 911 call volume has increased from about 3,500 a day to 6,000 or more.
Many first responders are working multiple shifts a day and are scrambling to keep with with the overwhelming number of 911 calls.
‘They’re not going home to sleep. A lot of them have slept in their cars because they don’t want to infect their families.’