WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged lawmakers to do more for nurses and doctors fighting the coronavirus crisis, citing a Post exposé on the tragic death of a Mount Sinai nurse manager.
“Our workers are risking their lives on the front line of this fight and need stronger protections to keep them safe,” Pelosi said on the House floor Friday afternoon during a vote approving the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.
“This week we learned of the tragic death of Kious Kelly, a nurse manager at Mount Sinai West who died in the line of duty from coronavirus,” she said, referring to The Post’s Wednesday “Treated Like Trash” front page.
The report revealed the death of Kelly, 48, who tragically passed away from COVID-19 on Tuesday night.
Nurses at Mount Sinai West tied his death to a lack of personal protective equipment and said shortages were so dire, desperate front-line responders had resorted to wearing trash bags.
“Nurses were forced to resort to tying bandannas over their faces in place of proper equipment and still others even began tying plastic garbage bags around disposable scrubs that they were given in place of proper scrubs for extra protection,” Pelosi said.
“As Mr. Kelly’s sister said, ‘His death could have been prevented. He was healthy. I’m angry,’” she added.
A spokeswoman for Mount Sinai on Wednesday said they were “deeply saddened” by Kelly’s death but denied reports that staff did not have access to protective gear.
Pelosi said a fourth round of federal funding was imminent for hospitals in dire need of funding and equipment.
“We must do more for our health care workers. This has been a current theme on both sides of the aisle: our gratitude for our health care workers,” she said.
“They are heroes. We are thankful and grateful to them. We pray for them. But we need to do more for them than just to say those words,” she added to applause from fellow lawmakers.
In New York, the hardest-hit state in the nation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has urgently requested 30,000 ventilators from the Trump administration.