Press Release

Kansas City RNs to Hold Vigil in Memory of Research Medical RN Who Died of COVID-19

Nurses rally outside medical center

Registered nurses from across the region will hold a candlelight vigil Thursday night at HCA’s Research Medical Center (RMC) in Kansas City in memory of Celia Yap Banago, a longtime RMC RN who died this week of COVID-19 after caring for an infected patient at the hospital.

To make the tragedy worse, Celia, who died Tuesday night, was scheduled next week to celebrate 40 years of service for Kansas City area patients at Research. She was one of many RNs at the hospital who have expressed concern over inadequate COVID-19 preparation at RMC.

Those concerns include insufficient supplies of the optimal personal protective equipment for RNs and other health care workers, delays in notifying nurses of being exposed to a suspected infected patients and staff and expected to continue reporting to work when exposed. 

What: RN Candlelight Vigil in Honor of RN who Died of COVID-19
When: Thursday, April 23, 8 p.m.
Where: Research Medical Center, 2316 E Meyer Blvd, Kansas City

“Celia was an amazing nurse that dedicated her service for countless years at Research and a dear friend to all of us,” said Research RN Charlene Carter.  “I feel that I can speak for many nurses when I say that the loss of one of our dear fallen soldiers on the front line of this pandemic is more than devastating, it is a wake-up call.”

Across the U.S. dozens of RNs have died from COVID-19, thousands more have been infected. On Tuesday, NNU members held a social distancing protest outside the White House demanding that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgate an emergency temporary standard so that health care workers are provided with the optimal PPE. 

“We honor the life and career of Celia who gave so much of herself for her patients,” said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN. “No nurse, no health care worker, should have to put their lives, their health, and their safety at risk for the failure of hospitals and our elected leaders to provide the protection they need to safely care for patients.”
“Nurses have an instinctive conduct of being so selfless that I believe others don’t realize. No nurse should have to sacrifice their life in exchange for conserved profits by the rationing of proper protective equipment,” said Carter. “Nurses all over the country need proper protection every day so that we can continue to save patients’ lives while sparing our own.”

Research RNs were among HCA nurses at 16 HCA facilities across the country who participated in shift change, social distancing protests, earlier this month warning a lack of preparedness by the nation’s largest hospital chain that they say places nurses, other staff, and patients at risk in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.