BY Mohammed Awal, 8:00am March 31, 2020,

Worried about lack of testing, US-based Ghanaian nurse dies of COVID-19

Freda Ocran; Credit: The Post

A US-based Ghanaian nurse, Freda Ocran, has joined the long list of health professionals killed by the deadly coronavirus. Ocran, 50, was the former head nurse of Jacobi Medical Center’s psychiatric unit which is located in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx, New York City.

Ocran raised concerns about the absence of coronavirus precautionary guidelines and testing at the Jacobi Medical Center while working there and weeks later she died from the deadly virus that has infected more than 787,000 people and killed over 37,000 worldwide, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.

Ocran died of the virus Saturday. “She had concerns, especially with working with patients and other staff and how long it was taking to be tested,” Ocran’s son, Kwame, 25, told The New York Post.

“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.”

The United States has the most confirmed cases globally at over 160,700. More than 3,000 people have died in the US — over 1,200 in New York State.

Ocran’s death came a day after nurses at the facility held a rally to protest the shortage of masks and gloves and also rebel against a new city hospital policy of rationing that would require them to reuse the same N95 mask for up to five days.

Standing six feet apart, the furious nurses held signs reading “Healthcare before Profits,” “Respect Public Healthcare Nurses” and “We Risk Our Lives to Save Yours #ppenow” The Post reported. The nurses were told to put another surgical mask over the same mask to prevent contamination.

“Management is limiting access to PPE equipment, and asking nurses to reuse N95s for an entire week. This is unacceptable for nurses and the COVID patients we are trying to save,” Jacobi nurse Kelley Cabrera told The Post.

“We’re being asked to do something we would have been reprimanded for a month ago. We’re putting ourselves and our patients in danger by doing this,” added Cabrera, the Nurses Association union rep at the facility.

Ocran fell 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 Post reported. The hospital sent her home — without testing her, according to the outlet, citing Ocran’s son.

Weeks before her death, Ocran wrote a touching tribute to her late father alongside a picture of them on Facebook saying, “We will meet again, DAD!”

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 31, 2020


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