NEW YORK CITY -- A pregnant nurse was taking care of novel coronavirus patients in Brooklyn, until she got the virus herself. She then went on a ventilator and her heart stopped. Now, the woman who spent a career caring for patients is a patient who needs caring for full-time.
Shirley Licin told our sister station Eyewitness News her sister has suffered the worst of COVID-19's cruelty, its devastating twists and turns. Silvia Leroy, 35, first felt symptoms in mid-March. She was working at Brookdale Hospital in the labor and delivery unit, but it was hit hard from coronavirus at the start.
"The hospital would not test them," she said. "They're not testing the doctors, they're not testing the nurses even if they're sick."
Leroy waited a week for her test, but by then she needed a ventilator.
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"They were saying that, but they didn't have any readily available," Licin said.
The conditions inside Brookdale were worsening.
"No one came to clean her. She slept in her own urine," added Licin, "The nurse told (her) to change her own IV bags."
Licin says she has text messages from her saying 'tell my story.'
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"This was the hospital where my sister worked for seven years," she said.
Licin shared the anguish on social media, and Leroy was transferred to Mount Sinai in Manhattan where she got better care, a host of medications, including Remdesevir, which led to improvement. She came off a ventilator after a week, and was awake.
However, just three days later, the family got a phone call that Leroy was in cardiac arrest.
Doctors delivered her baby, Esther, via c-section, but Leroy's brain lost four minutes of oxygen before she was revived.
Doctors are not sure what led to her cardiac arrest. Her family is now desperate to get her into a specialized rehab center for brain injury.
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Leroy's job and her kind spirit kept her working, at great risk.
"And she said to me, 'this is an underserved community," said her sister. "Who is going to help them if I don't help them?'"
Her family started a GoFundMe page, in the hopes that someone now helps her.
Coronavirus NYC: Pregnant nurse caring for COVID-19 patients contracts virus, goes into cardiac arrest