Fort Pierce frontline nurse battles 2nd bout of COVID-19; mother fights for hospital transfer

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (WSVN) — A Florida nurse is in a nightmare situation as she tries to battle back from a second bout of COVID-19.

Doctors said she’s having a tougher time recovering from the second sickness.

Her mother is now taking legal action to get her transferred to a new hospital for better help.

Genea Bristol, 41, is known for her singing, a talent that her mother said she has used to raise the spirits of her patients.

She’s a registered nurse at a medical center in Fort Pierce.

“She just loves working with people,” said Belinda Bristol.

Bristol has been a frontline worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. She contracted the virus in April.

“She was asymptomatic, pretty much, no breathing issues,” said Belinda.

Belinda said it was a relief since Genea could be considered high-risk because she was born with asthma, but she made a full recovery and went back to work.

“We were so thankful,” said Belinda.

She started feeling sick again in mid-January and tested positive a second time.

She has now been at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center for nearly a month.

Belinda said her condition is critical.

“She’s stable but not improving,” she said.

Belinda said Genea has been on an ECMO machine used to support the heart and lungs when a ventilator may not be enough.

“At this point, they’re not giving me much hope of her improving,” she said.

That’s why she’s hoping to secure a transfer to another hospital in Orlando or Jacksonville with what she considers more impressive ECMO success rates.

The concerned mother has hired attorney and former Fort Pierce Commissioner Reggie Sessions.

“Let’s forget about all this red tape, $5, $10, $20, $25,000, whatever the cost may be. Let’s do what we have to do to get her in a better facility,” Sessions said.

Lawnwood Regional Medical Center said if a patient is clinically able to be transferred and there’s an accepting facility with an accepting provider, the hospital will accommodate patient and family wishes.

“I have every hope in the world that she’s gonna be transferred. I’m not stopping,” Belinda said.

Bristol said a transfer to Orlando could cost about $8,000. The family is raising money to cover the costs.

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