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General News of Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Source: nypost.com

Coronavirus kills Ghanaian nurse in the US


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The former head nurse of Jacobi Medical Center’s psychiatric unit was concerned about the lack of coronavirus precautions and testing while working there — only to end up dying of the contagion weeks later, her distraught son told The Post on Monday.

“She had concerns, especially with working with patients and other staff and how long it was taking to be tested,” Kwame Ocran, 25, said of his 50-year-old mom, Jacobi nurse Freda Ocran of The Bronx, who died of the virus Saturday.

Jacobi nurses had held a rally outside the hospital Saturday demanding more protective gear.

“Without those tests being administered, there’s no way of knowing if she was working with someone who had it or not,” Kwame said of his mother. “She complained and was concerned about the precautions being taken.”

Meanwhile, a city pediatric nurse and Brooklyn “legend,” 48-year medical veteran Theresa Lococo, was among the latest local health care workers to die from the coronavirus, too, according to her son and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Lococo’s son, Anthony Lococo, 41, wept as he told The Post on Monday how he urged his 68-year-old mom to protect herself as the pandemic spread.

“I put my foot down last week and said, ‘Ma, you never call out sick. You have to take two days off,’ ” Anthony recounted.

By the end of the week, he was calling 911 — to report that his mother was seizing. She soon passed away.

Asked whether he thought widespread testing for the virus could have prevented his mom’s death, Anthony said, “I don’t even want to hear that — because it would make me feel like someone murdered my mom.”

Kwame said his mother — who also worked at group homes in The Bronx — became ill with mild symptoms about two weeks ago but still showed up for her nursing shift at Jacobi, where she previously oversaw the nursing staff in the psych ward. The hospital sent her home — without testing her, the son said.

Freda had posted a photo of herself on her Facebook page March 20 along with the words, “I CAN’T STAY HOME…I’M A HEALTHCARE WORKER.”

Ailing, she was admitted to Lincoln Medical Center in The Bronx on March 24, put on a ventilator at the end of last week and died within a day or two, Kwame said.

“My mother is the most giving person I ever met,” her son said. “She was a beautiful soul.”

About two weeks before she died, Freda, an immigrant from Ghana, had written a touching tribute to her late father and included a photo of them together when she was a little girl, saying, “We will meet again, DAD!”

Under Freda’s Facebook posting saying she still had to go to work as a health care provider, Patrick Osei Bonsu wrote Sunday, “You were at the frontline fighting to save lives … you have fought to the end; touching lives and saving souls. … You are a hero. We will forever remember you.”

De Blasio announced Ocran’s death Sunday. He said she was “a psych educator” at Jacobi.

The mayor noted that Ocran supported her family — including “her mom, who lives in Africa. So, what a horrible loss for that family, that hospital, and our city.”

Of Lococo, the mayor said, “Amazingly, she was in her 48th year of employment in our hospital system, protecting her fellow New Yorkers — 48 years serving us, and she gave her life helping others.”

Anthony Lococo added to The Post, “She would push you out of the way of an oncoming bus if she had the chance — that was my mom.”

Nursing “was her passion,” he said. “She didn’t have to be at work ’til 8 a.m., but she would get in at 6:20 a.m. all the time — that’s how much she loved her job.”

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