Family says Mid-South nurse died from COVID-19 complications

Family says Mid-South nurse died from COVID-19 complications
Neff Rios was a nurse at St. Francis Hospital. His wife says he died from COVID-19 complications. (Source: Rios family)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The medical community is mourning the loss of one of their colleagues, Neff Rios.

“He was very caring and very kind. He had a very calming presence about him and he was just like a big, gentle giant,” said Melinda Collums, former co-worker.

"He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” said Lynn Jourdan, former co-worker.

Those are just a few words many used to describe Neff, a 37-year-old registered nurse in the ICU at St. Francis Hospital.

He was married to Kristina Bateman Rios.

“Neff was a loving husband, a son, a brother, an amazing uncle, a loyal friend, a die-hard Eagle fan, a car enthusiast and my favorite nurse," said Rios.

She says two weeks ago Neff began to have flu-like symptoms, and when she took him to get tested for COVID-19 his results were positive.

Kristina says Neff passed away Sunday, April 26 due to COVID-19 complications.

A spokesperson for St. Francis Hospital released this statement: “We were recently informed that a nurse at our hospital passed away yesterday, and this loss is felt throughout our entire community. We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our staff, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”

Former coworkers say learning about Neff’s passing is a hard pill to swallow.

"He looked at me and another guy who is the day shift assistant and he said, ‘I really appreciate y’all letting me work here,’ and my thought was, ‘My god. I’m glad you’re here,’ because he brought so much life to the unit,” said Jourdan.

"My heart just hurt, I mean it literally sunk to the end of my stomach. We’ve lost a good nurse, died on the front lines,” said Collums.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.