Ocean Springs nurse dies from COVID-19 amid helping during pandemic

Coast nurse who cared for COVID-19 patients dies from the virus

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - The medical family at Ocean Springs Hospital is mourning the loss of one of their own, veteran ICU nurse Cheryl Longfellow.

Family and fellow nurses struggled to find a single word to describe such an impactful woman.

“She would walk in with a smile on her face and a big good morning," said nurse Theresa Wolfe. "Whether you were ready for it or not to start the day.”

After two decades of helping patients fight their illnesses, Longfellow died from the very disease she was helping patients with, COVID-19.

“You try to prepare for it. No matter what, it’s devastating, whether its a coworker, family, a patient. It’s all pretty hard to deal with.” said nurse Rhyannen Majo Smith.

Her fellow nurses were there by her side every day until she passed.

“Last night was probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen," said Buddy Gager, patient care manager. "With her family at the door, and the entire nursing staff around the family and the rest of the nursing unit full of therapist, security. I just never had seen anything like that in my life.”

The tribute was fitting for someone who touched countless lives.

“She spent more time at the bedside and with the family and the patient," said Karlene McHatton, patient care coordinator. "And that would make her a little late because she would have to chart everything after, but I think that’s the kind of nurse I would want to take care of me.”

Along with her nursing staff, Longfellow leaves behind a loving family, including her 16-year-old granddaughter she took care of.

“She still puts everything first before her. She just knew what she needed to do to keep her safe and have her grow in a stable home.” said her daughter, Amanda Longfellow.

Loved ones say her legacy and her impact on others will not be forgotten.

“If you didn’t meet my mom, I’m sorry because she touched everyone’s lives she met. She might have a little fierce in her but it all comes with love and grace." said Amanda Longfellow.

Friends, family and loved ones hope to honor Cheryl Longfellow by living with more compassion and putting the needs of others before their own, just as she had done. Her coworkers are also pushing for the ICU unit she worked in to be dedicated to her.

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