A Nurse Without A Proper Protective Mask Rushed In To Treat A ‘code blue’ Patient. She Died Two Weeks After
The choice that nurse Celia Marcos, 61, made, proved to be fatal for her, but she died as a hero.
At the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center where she worked, a COVID-19 patient in her ward had stopped breathing. Unfortunately, Celia only had a thin surgical mask to cover her face, and taking the time to get a proper protective mask could have proven to be life-threatening to her patient.
Celia knew that breathing procedures such as chest compressions would have caused the patient to release infectious particles into the air that could potentially land on her, and she would be in grave danger.
But the charge nurse went into the room anyway, and two weeks later, she passed away.
Celia, who is originally from the Philippines, lost her life at the place she had worked for over 16 years.
She is one of around 36 medical workers in California to have died of COVID-19.
One way her story is being told is that she was a selfless hero who chose to save her patient by risking and losing her own life. However, employees at the hospital say the truth is quite different.
REST IN PEACE: Celia Marcos worked as a nurse at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center for 16 years. Tragically, it’s also where she died – two days after testing positive for #COVID19 https://t.co/f3cw6TwVDE
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) May 7, 2020
As a charge nurse, Celia had to tend to patients who stopped breathing, but she wasn’t given a protective mask at the start of her shift, according to her colleagues. The masks are of limited supply, and personnel who do not receive one are often asked to reuse their masks multiple times over.
“The hospital wasn’t giving us appropriate PPE — the N95s were locked,” said a nurse, who, like others, wanted to remain anonymous due to fears of retaliation from hospital administrators. “It’s just too painful for everybody, what happened to her.”
Even though all medial employees are at risk of contracting the virus, Celia’s passing shows the way the risks have risen due to a country-wide shortage of protective gear.
“I was the one right in front of his face,” Celia wrote in a text to her niece according to LA Times. Afraid of infection, she even put hand sanitizer in her hair after exiting the patient’s room and took a shower as soon as she was home, she wrote in the text.
Officials at Hollywood Presbyterian denied Celia tended to patients without PPE and added that the hospital strictly follows all rules and guidelines.
“Despite these efforts, and our commitment to following all guidelines, we still lost one of our own to this terrible virus, and we feel this loss very deeply,” administrators said in a statement.
The nurses union SEIU 121 complained to the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration that referred to Celia’s passing as “the result of inadequate PPE provided to staff.”
In another complaint, the union alleged that the treatment Celia received once she became a patient at the hospital was of a low standard.
According to employees who took care of her during her final days, one of the last things she said was:
“I don’t want to die.”
Celia started working for the hospital back in 2004, three years after moving to the United States with her family. According to her sons, it was a life-long dream of hers to become a nurse, and back home, she had trained to become one.
🕯️Nurses and elected officials held a candlelight vigil in honor of Celia Marcos, a 61-year-old nurse at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, who died two days after testing positive for #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/rJeGfxdNH9
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) May 9, 2020
At the Hollywood Presbyterian, people knew her as a kind person who never lost control, no matter the heat of the situation.
Her Filipino co-workers called her “ate” – big sister in Tagalog.
“She’s the type of person who in an emergency you can really count on,” said another co-worker, who also wanted to remain anonymous. “She’s the calm that we can look to in order to get through.”
Аnd on the night of April 3, she proved them right.
A man who was was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 had wanted to go home because he did not feel ill. But only two hours later, his breathing stopped, Celia wrote in a message to her niece Andrea Gian Lardzibal, who is also a nurse back in the Philippines.
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