Kious Kelly, 48, reportedly died from complications caused by COVID-19.
The New York Times reported Kious Kelly, assistant nurse manager at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai West, is the first nurse reported to have died of the coronavirus in New York City. On March 18, Kelly reportedly told his sister, Marya Patrice Sherron, he tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was in the ICU. At that time, Kelly, who was asthmatic, was relying on a ventilator to breathe. He succumbed to the virus on Tuesday.
“His death could have been prevented,” Sherron wrote on Facebook. “Please help get our healthcare workers the protection they need.”
Employees of Mount Sinai West informed the media that Kelly’s COVID-19 infection was potentially caused by a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Shortly before his positive diagnosis, Kelly had been caring for patients without PPE.
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In reporting on Kelly’s death, the New York Post included an image of the hospital’s employees wearing scrubs wrapped in garbage bags. Mount Sinai West reportedly had “issues with supplies for about a year now,” one source told the Post.
“Kious didn’t deserve this,” an anonymous nurse told the New York Post. “The hospital should be held responsible. The hospital killed him.”
“I’m also very angry with the Mount Sinai Health System for not protecting him,” registered nurse Bevon Bloise posted to Facebook. “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.”
A GoFundMe to help his family was quickly flooded with supportive messages and many others shared fond memories of Kelly on social media.
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Joanne Loo, a fellow nurse at Mount Sinai West, took to Facebook to honor Kelly. “He used to carry around a thick notepad holder that hides a box full of chocolates and candies so he can have it handy to give out to miserable/ grumbly nurses and doctors who are more likely than not ‘hangry.'”
Loo continued: “He spreads joy and love, exactly like how the world needs it. He is a nurse hero to the patients and nurses who he crossed path with. His death hit home … and it hurts.”
If you’d like to contribute to the GoFundMe established by Loo, click here.