The nurse, Kious Kelly, wanted to build a home on his parents plot with his sister. That dream remains unfulfilled now.
The US has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world surpassing China, and the number of deaths is increasing by the day. Each death is a painful journey for those left behind. One New York nurse's sister is channeling her pain to spread awareness after her big brother passed away due to coronavirus. What's more tragic is the fact that he was healthy and perfectly fine a few weeks ago, and his death could have been prevented. One of the biggest grouse she has with the hospital where he was working is that they didn't provide enough personal protective equipment (PPE)for those on the frontlines.
As hospitals in New York get flooded with patients, doctors and nurses are working to the brink of exhaustion. Furthermore, they don't have enough safety gear, some claim. Mount Sinai West nursing manager Kious Jordan Kelly, 48, died on March 24 after getting infected on March 17. His sister, Marya Patrice Sherron, claimed that while he did have asthma, he was otherwise healthy, according to NYTimes.
The last text message she received from her said, "I’m okay. Don’t tell Mom and Dad. They’ll worry." This loving son and big brother passed away after being on a ventilator in the intensive care unit for a week. His death came after photos of Mount Sinai nurses dressed in garbage bags were plastered over the internet.
Mount Sinai Hospital would like to thank all great Commander in Chief for the garbage bags ! pic.twitter.com/6wGQG4ut3u— larry harris (@larryha78646635) March 26, 2020
Kelly could be the first nurse in New York City to die from the virus. "His death could have been prevented," Marya said on Facebook. Other co-workers, too, are furious at the lack of safety gear and preventive equipment.
My brother didn’t have to die. Healthcare providers need PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) NOW!#PPENOW-JusticeforKioushttps://t.co/9zojhKClFk— Marya Sherron (@SherronMarya) March 26, 2020
"I am fighting for those who do not have a voice or fear the consequences of speaking. Every nurse that is not properly protected and wears a contaminated mask day after day - and the rashes on your hands from washing over and over again, every meal provider with NO PPE, every Doctor working tirelessly and waiting for effective guidance from your administration, every EMS with NO PPE...I fight for you today fueled by the heart and compassion of my brother, Kious Kelly," Marya said in a Facebook post.
Kious's colleagues also expressed their anger on Facebook, according to NYTimes. "I’m also very angry with the Mount Sinai Health System for not protecting him. We do not have enough PPE, we do not have the correct PPE, and we do not have the appropriate staffing to handle this pandemic. And I do not appreciate representatives of this health system saying otherwise on the news," said Bevin Bloise, a registered nurse at the hospital.
Another colleague, Diana Torres, said on Facebook, "We lost a great fighter during this war." She shared a photo of co-workers wearing bandannas over their faces due to the lack of masks. "NO THIS IS NOT PROPER PPE," she wrote.
His sister spoke about the plans she had with her brother, and her pain is almost palpable through her message. "I can’t talk. I don’t know how to do this. We had plans...we were going to build a tiny house on our parents' property. I’m angry. He was healthy. I know he’s in heaven. I know I will see him again. I know people die every day. I know many of you have endured loss. My God! I had no idea...the pangs of pain are excruciating. O, James. My big brother....it’s hard to breathe," she said on Facebook.
The hospital, meanwhile, has said that the photo of nurses wearing garbage bags isn't the whole picture. In a statement, they said, "When it comes to staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), the facts are very different than recent media reports. To be clear: we always provide all our staff with the critically important PPE they need to safely do their job."
"This crisis is straining the resources of all New York area hospitals and while we do—and have had—enough protective equipment for our staff, we will all need more in the weeks ahead," the statement continued. "This crisis is only growing and it’s essential that we not only have all the right equipment but that we come together to help and support one another."
However, the publication that first reported Kious' death, NYPost, reported that one nurse highlighted "issues with supplies for about a year now." The unnamed nurse said that it got "to the point where we had to hide our own supplies and go to other units looking for stuff because even the supply room would have nothing most of the time." She continued, "But when we started getting COVID patients, it became critical."
A heartbroken Marya has a warning for other institutions. "There's only going to be more," she said, according to NBCNews. "He's not the only one with asthma. He's not the only one with conditions who is going to work every day helping and fighting for people."
If you want to help his family, Kious' colleagues have set up a GoFundMe page for his family and loved ones.