Honoring fallen nurses in the fight against COVID-19: Three FL nurses, and dozens more have died

Nurses and nursing organizations rally at the Capitol in Tallahassee. Credit: Issac Morgan

The death toll from the coronavirus among registered nurses in the United States continues to climb, with more than 160 deaths, according to the National Nurses United.

NNU, a large nationwide union representing RNs, reported 167 deaths among nurses, as of Thursday. Three Florida nurses who succumbed to COVID-19 are among the nurses listed and honored on NNU’s website.

Those fallen nurses in Florida are Earl Bailey, in Ft. Lauderdale; Araceli Buendia Ilagan in Miami; and Danielle DiCenso in Hialeah. Here is the website honoring all the nurses.

The website states:

“The registered nurses who lost their lives to COVID-19 were forced to take critical risks without adequate protection during a crisis fueled by corporate greed and government failure.

Nurses across the country report that they are not receiving the proper staffing, personal protective equipment (PPE), education, and communication from their employers, or isolation rooms they need to safely care for COVID-19 patients.”

The union is using media reports, social media, and obituaries to create the list of deaths, according to Chuleenan Svetvilas, NNU communications specialist, said in an email to the Florida Phoenix.

“But the number is most certainly an undercount because the organization believes many deaths are not reported publicly,” Svetvilas said.

Meanwhile, there have been more protests at Florida hospitals where nurses are demanding action to better protect them and add more staff to care for COVID-19 patients.

Here is a previous Phoenix report on the ongoing issues surrounding Florida nurses.

According to a NNU press release, nurses at Fawcett Memorial held a protest at 8 a.m. on Thursday outside of the facility, addressing issues such as RNs leaving their jobs at the hospital due to poor working conditions and failure “to provide the staffing levels nurses need.”

And this past weekend, four nurses working in the intensive care unit resigned, NNU said.

Fawcett Memorial has yet to respond to a request for comment from the Phoenix regarding the allegations.

“Because of the administration’s inaction and dismissal of the warnings by its frontline caregivers, we are losing experienced RNs. That is a tragedy for our patients and our community,” Cynthia Butler, a registered nurse at Fawcett Memorial, said in a written statement.

The Florida Phoenix earlier wrote about nurses battling the virus on the front lines in hospitals and other facilities.

Here is the list of nurses who have died, thus far:

Milagros Abellera – San Antonio, Texas
John Abruzzo – Long Island, New York
Divinia “Debbie” Accad -Detroit, Michigan
Quen Agbor Ako – Randallstown, Maryland
Romeo Agtarap – New York, New York
Felicia Ailende – Chicago, Illinois
Jerry Alford – Northport, Alabama
Elena-Beth Alejandre – Maryland
Taiwo Alubajo – Yeadon, Pennsylvania
Larrice Anderson – New Orleans, Louisiana
Jennifer Anderson-Davis – Ballwin, Missouri
Robert “Bob” Armstrong – El Paso, Texas
Walter Nforsi Asah – Silver Spring, Maryland
Yaw Asante – New York, New York
Lois Aschcroft-Merrell – Jefferson, Arkansas
Arlene Aquino – Panorama City, California
Earl Bailey – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Whitney Ballance – Asheville, North Carolina
Nicanor “Nick” Baltazar – Flushing, New York
Marsha Kaye Bantle – Newburgh, Indiana
Elizabeth Bartolome Del Mundo – Caldwell, New Jersey
Jeff Baumbach – Stockton, California
Roxanne Bent – New York, New York
Theresa Berbano – New York, New York
Angeline Bernadel – Milford, Connecticut
Barbara Birchenough – Belleville, New Jersey
David Blagrove – New York
Dorothy Jean Boles – Greenwood, Mississippi
Mark Leighton Bowen – New York, New York
Joyce Brown-Wifgall – New York, New York
Araceli Buendia Ilagan – Miami, Florida
Danilo Bulima – Newark, New Jersey
Irene “Rene” Burgonio – Brooklyn, New York
Virdree Burns Jr – New York, New York
Maria Guia Cabillon – New York, New York
Jina Cadabono-Sisnero – Bloomfield, New Jersey
Marlino Cagas – New York, New York
Patrick Cain – Flint, Michigan
Paul Anthony Camagay – Covina, California
Sheila Campbell – Pennsylvania
Evelyn Caro – Silver Spring, Maryland
Rosary Celaya Castro-Olega – Los Angeles, California
Mavis Charles – New York
Gabriel Chinwendu – Washington, DC
Sheila Faye Christian – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Susan Cicala – Bellville, New Jersey
Samantha Collings Wissinger – Troy, Michigan
Daniel Coronel – Brooklyn, New York
Deborah Coughlin – Glastonbury, Connecticut
Rosemary Couto-Figaro – New York, New York
Dana Davis – Louisville, Kentucky
Ernesto “Audie” Deleon – New York, New York
Raul Della Eslao – Westland, Michigan
Elizabeth DelMundo – West Caldwell, New Jersey
Danielle DiCenso – Hialeah, Florida
Karla Dominguez – El Paso, Texas
Daisy Doronilla – Kearny, New Jersey
Douglas Enteman – Dover, Dover
Corazon Espinosa – New York, New York
Carolyn Ettinger – Carolyn Ettinger, New York
Lisa Ewald – Detroit, Michigan
Cristino Fabro – Flushing, Flushing
Alexandra Faerber – Atlanta, Georgia
Sybil Freeman – Beaufort, South Carolina
Renee French – New York, New York
Necitas Galura – New York, New York
Helen Gbodi – Washington, DC
Anne (Lucia) Gerardo-Repayo – New Jersey
Emma Goolsby – New York, New York
Kevin Graiani – Union City, New Jersey
Lorenza “Lori” Guerrero – McAllen, Texas
Ali Dennis Guillermo – Patchogue, New York
Rose Harrison – Hamilton, Alabama
Samantha Hickey – Caldwell, Idaho
James House – Detroit, Michigan
Marilyn Howard – New York, New York
Judith L. Heimann – Carlyle, Illinois
Ilkah Hernandez – Waterbury, Connecticut
Michelle Herring – White Plains, White Plains
Patricia Hudgins – Englewood, Colorado
Araceli Buendia Ilagan – Miami, Florida
Faye Jackson – Mobile, Alabama
Aleyamma John – New York, New York
Madeline Johnson – Burlington, New Jersey
Kurt Julian – Kirkland, Washington
Kious Kelly – New York, New York
Suzanne Koransky – Wayne, New Jersey
Maria Krier – Littleton, Massachusetts
Erwin Lambrento – Queens, New York
Celia Lardizabal Marco – Los Angeles, California
Maria Grace Esteves Laureta – Bronx, New York
Angela Lewis – New York, New York
Rose Liberto – Charlotte, North Carolina
Theresa Lococo – New York, New York
Maria E. Lopez – Chicago, Illinois
Maria Luisa Lopez – Bayonne, New Jersey
Felicisimo Luna – Elizabeth, New Jersey
Maureen Lunney – New York, New York
Lydia Tandoc Macuja – Royal Oak, Michigan
Steven Malagraph – Nyack, New York
Mike Marceaux – Shreveport, Louisiana
Celia Lardizabal Marcos – Los Angeles, California
Thyce Mattice – New York, New York
Kelly Mazzarella – Mount Vernon, New York
Carolyn McBride – Glen Carbon, Illinois
Francis Mee – Tewksbury, Massachusetts
Jose Mendeja – New Jersey
Cynthia “Chi” Mendoza – Norfolk, Virginia
Lisa Micek – Grand Island, Nebraska
Sheena Miles – Morgan, Mississippi
Anjanette Miller – Chicago, Illinois
Valrena “Val” Miller – Kayenta, Navajo Nation – Arizona
Gloria Minor – New York, New York
Edwin Montanano – Kearny, New Jersey
Linda Morris – New York, New York
Kathy Nelson – Chesapeake, Virginia
Ellen B. Norman – Chester, Pennsylvania
Joshua Obra – Long Beach, California
Freda Ocran – New York, New York
Sandra Oldfield – Fresno, California
Oluwayemisi “Yemi” Ogunnubi – Chicago, Illinois
Pamela Orlando – Ridgewood, New Jersey
Joyce Pacubas Le Blanc – Chicago, Illinois
Pilar Palacios Pe – Fort Washington, Maryland
Marybeth Papetti – Dumont, New Jersey
David Perea – Reno, Nevada
Livette Plan – Middletown, New York
Suppee Pojjananuvat – New Rochelle, New York
Mary Ellen Porter – New York, New York
Azinet Pudpud – Bronx, New York
Robert David Reisinger – Chicago, Illinois
Neff Rios – Memphis, Tennessee
Maria “Bambi” Roaquin – Cortlandt Manor, New York
Sonia Román – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Jose Ruiz III – Harlingen, Texas
Brian Saddler – Wayne, New Jersey
Ernesto Santos – San Dimas, California
Ellyn Schreiner – Fairborn, Ohio
Rosemary Sell – New York
Lyubov Semidubersky – Brooklyn, New York
Kathy Sims – Florence, South Carolina
Noel Sinkiat – Washington, DC
Susan Sisgundo – New York, New York
George Sisnero – Newark, New Jersey
Victor Sison – Passaic, New Jersey
Ryan Slattery – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Barbara Ann Stewart – Blanch, North Carolina
Kathy Stuart – Salem, New Hampshire
Rose Taldon – Boston, Massachusetts
Imelda Tangonan – Valhalla, New York
Robert Tarrant – West Orange, New Jersey
Vianna Thompson – Reno, Nevada
Kerri Unsworth – Providence, Rhode Island
Nancy Veto – Chicago, Illinois
Royce Villa – West Bloomfield, Michigan
Svetlana Vinokur – Brooklyn, New York
Krisalyn Viste – Ontario, California
Aleksandr Vollmann – Seattle, Seattle
Judy Wilson-Griffin – St. Louis, Missouri
Samantha Collings Wissinger – Troy, Michigan
Celia Yap-Banago – Kansas City, Missouri
Rebecca Yee – New York, New York
Rose Zubko – Bethpage, New York
Name unknown – Stockbridge, Georgia
Name unknown – Houston, Texas
Name unknown – Los Angeles, California
Name unknown – Ohio

Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.