Just How Many Nurses Have Died From Covid-19 in 2020?
In 2020, Covid-19 hit our country like a ton of bricks, and almost without warning nurses across our great country were faced with a rapidly spreading viral disease and a massive lack of protective equipment. Regardless, nurses and other healthcare workers showed up to work each day and risked their own health and lives for the care and safety of others. Their dedication to the ill was unmatched and their incredible sacrifices must not be forgotten.
According to this report from National Nurses United, more than 1,700 healthcare workers, including 213 or more nurses have died after contracting Covid-19 on the job. In fact, it’s thought that there are more that haven’t been reported yet. That’s 1,700 lives lost, 1,700 families affected, 1,700 to be remembered. Each of those lives mattered and each will be remembered for their deep commitment to others. Here, I’d like to highlight just a few of these hero’s.
Sally Fontanilla, a nurse of 23 years, was known by families and friends for her infectious personality. She was deeply dedicated to her career and while she knew that her underlying conditions put her at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, she chose to take the chance and care for those who needed her. Sally later died in her own hospital after 2 months on a ventilator.
Pamela Orlando, a nurse and mother to two boys recorded her experience with Covid-19 on her cell phone. Her journey was witnessed as the videos were uploaded online and thousands watched as she progressed from a flu-like illness to severe respiratory distress before passing away. Pamela had survived breast cancer, but Covid-19 sadly ravaged her body.
Kenneth Lambatan dreamed of getting married and having a family. He was a loved presence on the cardiac floor where he was a nurse and where he eventually contracted Covid-19. Lying in his hospital bed, he passed away as his best friend of 20 years held his hand through her gloves.
We cannot forget the sacrifices of those who have given their lives to care for our country during this time. If not for the sentiment, for prevention. We’ve seen how a disease like Covid-19 can devastate our country and we’ve realized that a lack of planning has led one of our most precious assets into battle without the tools they needed to win. Healthcare staff stayed committed to spite being given sub-par and in some cases no protective gear. We absolutely cannot let massive shortages of appropriate protective equipment happen again, because at the end of the day we never know when another viral illness will knock on our doors. Congress is working on legislation to ensure future preparations are in order, while those of us in healthcare must stay involved and be the voice for our colleagues and their families anytime we are involved in spearheading preparation efforts. We cannot let the losses of 1,700 of our coworkers be in vain.
If you would like to get involved and donate to families who have lost their loved ones to Covid-19, you can donate here to the Brave of Heart Fund.