A physician who composed poems, a nurse who longed for kids: United States healthcare workers who passed away from Covid-19

A physician who composed poems, a nurse who longed for kids: United States healthcare workers who passed away from Covid-19

Lost on the frontline is a partnership in between the Guardian and Kaiser Health News that aims to document the lives of health care workers in the US who pass away from Covid-19, and to understand why numerous are falling victim to the pandemic.

Each week, we’re recording brand-new cases of health care employees who have actually passed away on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are their stories:


Bernard Atta. Photograph: Kojoh Atta.

Bernard Atta, 61
Ghana-born nurse made ‘a deep impact throughout the world’

Profession: Registered nurse
Place of work: Correctional reception center in Orient, Ohio
Date of death: 17 May 2020

Last December, when Kojoh Atta visited his dad’s house town in Offinso, Ghana, he showed up bearing presents. His dad, Bernard Atta, worked overtime at an Ohio prison so he could afford to send drums of clothing throughout the Atlantic.

KHN logo

Inside were tennis shoes, sandals and Ralph Lauren polos for cousins.

As Covid-19 wrecked Ohio, Kojoh advised his father to leave work, stressed about inadequate protective gear.

After Bernard evaluated positive for Covid-19, he stayed home, fearing the hospital costs.

— Eli Cahan

Nestor Bautista, 62
Peaceful nursing assistant was a thorough worker

Occupation: Nursing assistant
Workplace: Clara Maass medical center in Belleville, New Jersey
Date of death: 15 April 2020

Nestor Bautista came from a household of quiet men. He was peaceful, too, said Cecilia Bautista, one of his four siblings.

Cecilia and Nestor came to the US from the Philippines in the 1980 s. Cecilia became a nurse. Nestor, who had actually studied engineering, became a nursing aide.

Nestor coped with Cecilia’s family and worked at the same hospital for 24 years, she said. Nestor, who had actually diabetes, cooked for himself and “chosen to do things alone”.

He got extra shifts on his days off. Cecilia said: “He was just work, work, work.”

Eight days after he was hospitalized with Covid-19, Cecilia talked to Nestor by phone. He stated he felt OK. The next day, he was moved to extensive care, where he passed away of cardiac arrest.

Among Nestor’s associates passed away the same day of Covid-19 complications. A hospital spokesperson declined to talk about their deaths, citing personal privacy.

Cecilia has placed an urn including Nestor’s ashes in his bedroom. She plans to take his remains to the Philippines, and place them beside an older sibling’s.

Nestor had few friends, she said, but in this manner, “if somebody will visit my other sibling, somebody will go to Nestor also.”

— Melissa Bailey


John Robert Oglesbee. Picture: Adam Oglesbee.

John Robert Oglesbee, 80
A physician and a poet, he ‘wasn’t done’

Occupation: Family doctor
Workplace: CCOM Medical Group cardiology clinic in Muskogee, Oklahoma
Date of death: 26 April 2020

John Oglesbee accepted payment in the kind of a bushel of corn or meat from the household farm. No matter, he always put his clients first.

” He loved small-town Oklahoma,” said grandson Adam Oglesbee.

For years, Oglesbee ran a private practice outside of Ada, in south-central Oklahoma. In the last few years, he practiced at a cardiology clinic in his home town.

A passionate reader on every topic, he always went back to the Bible. He was a worshiper and deacon for many years, frequently guest-preaching. He likewise wrote poems, in some cases on napkins or the back of an envelope; he packed them in books in his huge house library.

He saw clients up until he ended up being sick with Covid-19

” He told me when I last saw him at his home through the window, ‘Dammit, I wasn’t done,'” Adam said.

— Eriech Tapia, University of Oklahoma

Monemise Romelus, 61
Nursing assistant’s 4 kids followed her into health care field

Occupation: Nursing aide
Place of work: New Jersey Veterans memorial home at Menlo Park in Edison, New Jersey
Date of death: 11 May 2020

Each day for lunch, Monemise Romelus and her fellow Haitian co-workers heated up bowl after bowl of traditional food: fried turkey, rice and peas, griot– pork shoulder marinated in citrus. They showed everyone, stated Shirley Lewis, her union president.

Romelus was quiet however had numerous friends, Lewis said. She beamed when speaking about her 4 kids, all of whom work in health care.

When the pandemic began, workers were initially told not to wear masks to avoid terrifying clients, stated Paul da Costa, a lawyer representing Romelus’s household. Romelus, who dealt with a flooring where patients were dealt with for Covid-19, did not have appropriate protective gear, contracted Covid-19 and passed away, Da Costa said.

More than 100 employees at the veterans home have actually evaluated positive for Covid-19; 62 citizens have actually died, state data shows. A center representative declined to discuss Romelus’s death but stated employees “are directed to use PPE in accordance with CDC guidelines”.

Management never ever acknowledged Romelus’s death, Lewis stated.

— Melissa Bailey


Mario Araujo. Photograph: Richard Whitehead.

Mario Araujo, 49
Lighthearted and warm, he was Chicago’s first firemen to die of Covid-19

Occupations: Firemen and emergency medical technician
Place of work: Chicago fire department truck company 25
Date of death: 7 April 2020

In spite of combating fires and treating the injured for almost 20 years, Mario Araujo remained goofy and light.

He had an exceptional capability to pry open roofings and pop open doors, said Richard Whitehead, a fellow firemen. He also liked playing virtual slot machines and cracking jokes.

” He was always kidding around. You could never ever take him serious,” Whitehead stated. “But when it came time to go to work, he was simply always prepared to go.”

He was the very first Chicago firemen to pass away from the coronavirus, the department verified. Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, honored him on Twitter: “Mario selflessly devoted his life to safeguarding our neighborhoods.”

Araujo approached his relationship with his sweetheart, Rosa Castillo, 48, and her boy, Leo, seven, with the exact same care. He was attentive, picking up Leo from school and providing him a tablet computer system so they might interact when he traveled.

” He taught my boy a lot, even if they didn’t share the same blood,” Castillo stated.

Castillo told Leo that God took Araujo to relieve his suffering. She stated her child believes he is an angel: “He hugs me and states, ‘Mom, I can feel Daddy with us.'”

— Carmen Heredia Rodriguez


Roger Liddell Photo: Expense Sohmer.

Roger Liddell, 64
Healthcare facility supply supervisor lacked protective equipment for himself

Profession: Supply supervisor
Workplace: McLaren Flint hospital in Flint, Michigan
Date of death: 10 April 2020

Roger Liddell was a married man. Among 9 brother or sisters, he regularly visited his extended household back in Mississippi. He was involved in his church and enjoyed cooking, westerns and the Chicago Bears.

Liddell signed up with the Marine Corps after high school and ultimately settled in Michigan, operating at McLaren Flint for nearly 20 years.

His task took him all over the healthcare facility– consisting of to floorings with Covid-positive patients– and as the number of cases climbed, he grew concerned. Liddell requested protective equipment from his medical facility, according to his union, but was rejected considering that he didn’t deal with clients. In an e-mail, a healthcare facility representative said McLaren Flint had followed government guidelines to make sure workers received adequate protective gear.

On 30 March, Liddell published to Facebook: he had actually worked the previous week in the ICU and critical care system, without PPE. “Pray for me God is still in control,” he composed.

Liddell checked favorable for Covid-19 He was placed on a ventilator however died, leaving behind his better half, four kids, two stepchildren and 11 grandchildren.

— Shefali Luthra

Quen Agbor Ako, 53
A nurse from Cameroon who liked to sing and dance

Profession: Registered nurse
Place of work: FutureCare Old Court retirement home, Randallstown, Maryland
Date of death: 10 April 2020

Quen Ako was known to use stylish, brilliant clothes and break out in song and dance. Publishing to an online memorial, buddies, household and co-workers described a dynamic, caring woman.

” My memory of you is that of a warm individual, one that will break out in tunes of pleasure,” one good friend wrote. Another described making fun of an inside joke with Ako simply weeks prior to her death. “Did I for one 2nd think that I would never hear that definite, hearty laughter again?”

Born in Cameroon, Ako earned her nursing degree in the United States and worked for a chain of assisted living home and rehab centers that saw substantial Covid-19 outbreaks. According to officials from Maryland’s department of health, the network of nine centers confirmed 1,422 cases of Covid-19 and 181 deaths among patients and personnel since 26 June.

Ako’s family declined to be talked to for this short article, but told a local news station that she died of Covid-19 The Guardian separately validated Ako’s cause of death with among her previous co-workers. Ako’s company did not respond to ask for remark about her death.

— Anna Jean Kaiser

Susan Sisgundo, 50
Pals say neonatal nurse was a baby whisperer

Profession: Neonatal ICU nurse
Place of work: Bellevue healthcare facility in New york city City
Date of death: 8 April 2020

With eight siblings, Susan Sisgundo needed to fight to stand apart, whether it was academics or a brand-new dance move, good friend Lowelia Avellana said.

The two met in grade school in the Philippines.

Sisgundo worked in among the nation’s busiest hospitals, which in mid-March filled with Covid-19 patients. A healthcare facility representative stated its workers had proper personal protective devices.

In the neonatal intensive care system, Sisgundo was a baby whisperer, adept at coaxing the fussiest newborn to sleep.

” She wished to have infants,” Avellana said, “but she wasn’t fortunate to find a hero.”

In March, Sisgundo began feeling ill.

The buddies had actually prepared to travel to the Philippines later on this year to celebrate their birthdays. Now Avellana is going to bring her buddy house.

— Kathleen Horan

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