‘I can’t talk because I choke and can’t breathe… I love you: Sister of New York nurse who died of coronavirus reveals his final text as she says a shortage of protective equipment that forced medics at his hospital to wear trash bags is to blame
- New York City nurse Kious Jordan Kelly, 48, died on Tuesday of coronavirus
- He had treated patients at Mount Sinai West, which was suffering from a shortage of protective equipment that forced some nurses to wear trash bags
- On March 18 he sent a final text to his sister saying: ‘Can’t talk because I choke and can’t breathe. I love you’
- ‘I absolutely believe that he contracted this because of the lack of PPE in his unit,’ Sherron says on the cause of his sudden death
- New York state has become the epicenter of the pandemic in US with over 67,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,341 deaths as of Tuesday
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The New York City nurse who died last week after contracting coronavirus shared a final heartbreaking text to his sister saying he couldn’t speak with her because he felt like he was choking and couldn’t breathe.
Kious Jordan Kelly, 48, died on Tuesday, a week after he contracted the virus, after treating COVID-19 patients as an assistant nursing manager at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan.
The hospital, like many others in New York and across the country, suffered a severe shortage of protective medical equipment that forced some nurses to wear trash bags to cover themselves.
His sister Marya Sherron reveals he sent his final text to her on March 18 from the intensive care unit at Mount Sinai where he was on a ventilator to help him breathe.
‘Can’t talk because I choke and can’t breathe. I love you. Going back to sleep,’ he wrote.
Sherron replied: ‘You’ve pulled through so much. Love you and we are praying.’
New York City nurse Kious Jordan Kelly, 48, sent a heartbreaking final text to his sister saying he couldn’t talk because he couldn’t breathe and was choking just days before he passed away on Tuesday March 24
‘Can’t talk because I choke and can’t breathe. I love you. Going back to sleep,’ he wrote
Mount Sinai West, like many others in New York and across the country, suffered a severe shortage of protective medical equipment that forced some nurses to wear trash bags to cover themselves. A shocking photo posted to Facebook shows three nurses at Mount Sinai West wearing black garbage bags as makeshift protective gowns
‘He just had this infectious energy. You felt good when he was around and you noticed when he left,’ Sherron said.
Kelly’s death and that of other medics across the country are a testament to the risks health workers face in the front lines battling COVID-19 and the severe shortages of supplies and protective gear hospitals face.
Sherron believes it was the hospital’s lack of protective equipment that led to her brother’s untimely death.
‘I absolutely believe that he contracted this because of the lack of PPE in his unit and at his hospital — but that’s across our nation,’ Sherron said to NBC, referring to personal protective equipment, which can include masks, gowns and gloves.
The Lansing, Michigan native suffered from severe asthma but was otherwise healthy.
Sherron is urging the public to take her brother’s death as a warning of what will happen if hospitals do not properly protect their workers.
‘There’s only going to be more,’ Sherron said. ‘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.’
Kelly’s hospital Mount Sinai West, like other hospitals in New York and across the country, suffered an urgent shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and isolation gowns.
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.’
Sherron, a resident of Indianapolis, said her brother’s condition deteriorated rapidly over the course of a week.
‘Unfortunately everything happened so quickly,’ she told CNN.
‘He told my parents that he was positive and had corona. Three days later he sent me a text message and shared that he was in the ICU and on a ventilator and he couldn’t talk or he would choke so he was having trouble breathing. Six days later he died.’
This chart shows how the number of New York COVID-19 cases has escalated this month
This chart shows how the COVID-19 death toll has mounted in NYC
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 Post.
Mount Sinai West has about 40 coronavirus patients scattered throughout the building, sources said.
New York has become the COVID-19 epicenter in the US
New York has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States with over 67,000 confirmed coronavirus cases reported in the state as of Tuesday and 1,341 deaths.
New York City has over 38,000 of those cases and 914 of the deaths.
On Sunday Mayor Bill De Blasio shared a desperate plea for more medical supplies and medics to come to the Big Apple to help the inundated hospitals and overwhelmed testing centers.
He warned that city hospitals only have enough supplies to last a week through Sunday April 5 if the federal government doesn’t send protective equipment and ventilators to hospitals in need.
New York City reported 138 new deaths on Monday. While it was an increase of 17 percent, it was a smaller increase than Saturday’ spike, when 222 died.
As of Tuesday there are over 164,000 cases of the virus in the country and over 3,000 deaths
Experts are now trying to predict where the virus will peak next. Above, a map of potential hot spots with figures from March 30
Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are trying now to do everything they can to prepare for the city for that peak. Field hospitals have been set up in Central Park, at the Javits Center and even in hotels like the Plaza and St Regis.
There are makeshift morgues popping up outside the city’s overwhelmed hospitals which are struggling to keep up with the body count.
Coronavirus surpasses 9/11 death toll in US
The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed past 3,000 on Monday, making the outbreak more deadly than the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed 2,977, and health experts are warning the worst is yet to come.
As of Tuesday morning there are over 164,000 cases of the virus in the country.
The University of Washington School of Medicine predicts that by April 20, the daily increase of deaths will hit 2,000.
They say, by that metric, that the total US death toll will be 82,141. The White House has painted an even bleaker picture; that between 100,000 and 200,000 people die in a best case scenario where people follow social distancing guidelines
As of Monday, 225 million people in the US were on lockdown as the likes of Virginia, Maryland and South Florida issued stay-at-home orders.
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