Stella Dimoko Korkus.com: Nigerian Immigrant Dies Of COVID-19 Weeks Before Becoming Citizen And Being Confirmed As Nurse

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Nigerian Immigrant Dies Of COVID-19 Weeks Before Becoming Citizen And Being Confirmed As Nurse

Nearly five years after emigrating from Nigeria, Ijeoma Afuke was within reach of realizing two major goals.
The certified nursing assistant was studying to become a nurse in the United States and her final exam was scheduled for June.







She also had completed the requirements to become a United States citizen and had an important interview in April that was postponed due to the emergence of the coronavirus.

Before she could reschedule it, the 35-year-old Chicago woman became another casualty working on the pandemic’s front line in the health care sector.

Afuke died April 29 at Stroger Hospital of pneumonia related to a COVID-19 infection. She did not have a serious underlying medical condition that made her more vulnerable to the virus, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Her husband, JJ Afuke, said he believes Ijeoma contracted the virus while working for MADO Healthcare in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The nursing facility had an outbreak of 50 confirmed cases among residents and staff and three deaths as of Friday, state public health officials said, citing the most current information available.

Afuke said his wife had complained about a lack of personal protective equipment at work. He urged her to take a break last month after she came down with coldlike symptoms, but she brushed it off and continued to work.

He said she soon became too weak to walk up the stairs of their South Shore apartment.

Afuke said he also tested positive for the virus, but his symptoms have been less severe. As he plans his wife’s memorial services for next week, the Lyft driver described his overwhelming grief. The couple has a daughter, Adaugo, which means “princess,” who turns 3 in August.

“I lost my angel,” he said. “She was a great mother, a great wife and an extraordinary human being. My wife is my superstar.”

He said Ijeoma immigrated in August 2015 to begin a new life with him in Chicago. The two wed a few years earlier when he was in Nigeria for his father’s funeral. A mutual friend had introduced them.

She remained behind in Nigeria until 2015 while studying nursing and securing all the necessary paperwork to come to the United States.

She was from the state of Abia in an eastern part of the country. JJ Afuke’s niece said the couple’s bond was evident to others in the family despite their 27-year age difference.

“He was head over heels for her,” said Adaku Otuonye, of Lake Villa. “For my uncle, she was God’s gift. She fulfilled him and was that missing part of him.”

Afuke said his wife was a nurse in Nigeria but had to complete the licensing process in the United States. In the meantime, Ijeoma was working as a certified nursing assistant while studying for her licensing exam to be a nurse in June.

“She liked America and the opportunities,” Afuke said. “She just wanted to pursue nursing and do the best she could. She was very smart, a go-getter and very ambitious.”

Afuke said his wife loved her job and was committed to her patients, even when she became sick.

“I told her to stop working, but she did not want to,” he said. “She wanted to keep helping people.”

He took Ijeoma to the hospital April 19. One week later, despite a persistent fever, he said she was stable and still speaking to relatives and friends on the phone daily. Her April 29 death was unexpected, he said, and came suddenly shortly after she was intubated due to a fluctuating heart rate.

“Everyone was looking forward to seeing her be successful in America,” Afuke said of her family in Nigeria. “I never thought she would die from this because she was very much alive and was talking to me and her friends all week.”

Afuke said the couple had hoped to have two more children. He said his wife believed their gifted daughter would grow up to become a doctor and help others. He has not told her yet that her mother is dead.

He said the child has looked for her around their apartment and has asked, “Where is mommy?”

His niece, Adaku Otuonye, set up a fundraiser to help defray tens of thousands of dollars in medical and funeral expenses. It had raised $10,000 by Tuesday.

She said her uncle, who has self-quarantined, has not been able to return to work in weeks. She said Ijeoma’s job as a certified nursing assistance did not provide medical benefits.

“They really are the unsung heroes in health care,” she said of CNAs. “These are people that pretty much have no insurance. Their families are mostly low income. It breaks my heart. She was one person, but many others also are losing their lives for so little. ... She was just trying to find the American Dream.”

from Chicago tribune

48 comments:

  1. It is well sir
    May her soul rest in peace

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. This story broke my heart.πŸ˜₯Rest on sister

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    2. Yeah, very sad indeed. Very sad

      Delete
  3. Enter your comment...

    OH JESUS!!!!!!

    Father please time to reap my harvest will not be cut short by death..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, me and my family, extended family, friends and love ones, our lives will not be cut short, we will fulfill destiny in good health and in sound mind in Jesus name Amen. Such a pity, her life was cut short, may her soul, and the souls of the departed rest in peace.

      Delete
  4. Painful,rest on Ijeoma. May God console your family.

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  5. This story is just painful.

    God I command anything that will make me die before achieving my major goals to die by fire!!!!

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  6. See me 😒 like mumu reading this. She is a super hero, she died helping others. May Lord gives her family the fortitude to bear their loss. πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯😒😒😒😒😒😒😰😰😰😰😰😰😰😰😰😰

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  7. May God rest her soul and console her family and loved ones...

    ReplyDelete
  8. This broke my heart. Rest in peace Ij. God bless your soul.

    I feel for the husband and little girl, she left behind. I'm praying for God to get them the strength to carry on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a pity. RIP lady.

    If she had taken care, she won't have gone like this. She noticed it but brushed it aside to continue to work.

    Comfort to the family. Everyone be safe

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is heartbreaking πŸ’”πŸ’”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very very heartbreaking.

      Don't even know what to say.

      I couldn't even read to the end.

      #LOVE😍

      Delete
  11. may God console her entire family.

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  12. This broke me, oh her 3 year old!! What next? Rest in Peace Ijeoma. The Lord strengthen her husband and family.

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  13. My God! The story is so sad I couldn't finish reading it. May God help the man to recover from this loss. RIP ma'am

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  14. This is so sad. May God grant her soul eternal rest and grant the family she left behind fortitude to bear the loss.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a sad story. How I wished she was able to achieve her dreams at the end.
    God consoles her family.

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  16. May her soul rest in and may God grant her family the strength and courage to keep going.

    ***Her job does not provide medical benefits**. Please, Nigerians in the diaspora, I know it is not easy at all securing a stable job, but, please don't accept jobs without health insurance. Working without health insurance is like working for free. I made same mistake in my early days in "the" abroad.
    Don't work for free, don't work to accept black money through the backyard, it doesn't always end well at the long run.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She has work papers na so its not from the back door, bad thing just wan happen. May God protect us all.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, read to understand! It is not about work papers, it is about the offer they made to her.

      A lot of people had legal papers, yet they still accepted to work without health insurance (I was one of those people in The past)

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    3. Honestly, insurance fro. Those assisted living facilities are usually costly.when I was with them, I didn't take their insurance but the whole family got insurance from health connections Which is subsidies by state governments. Now am with a hospital and the insurance is way cheaper.

      Delete
  17. This break my heart!
    May God console the family
    Rip to her

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is so sad.May God rest her soul.

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  19. May her soul RIP.
    This is really sad.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Very sad story. May God comfort the hubby and loved ones. Corona, pack and go, you have caused too much pain.

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  21. This is so sad. May she find eternal peace.

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  22. so Painful, Rest on Ije.To the family, The lord will continue to be your ever Present helper in this time. God please may you NEVER allow me die before my Glory, AMEN.

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  23. What a pity. May her soul rest in peace.

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  24. So sad reading this,may God comfort the bereaved family

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  25. This just break my heartπŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯..May the Good Lord Comfort her loved ones and grant her eternal rest...πŸ™πŸΎ

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am in the healthcare too in Canada, and l just have to keep safe for my clients and the world.
    On this job you just have to stay positive, many of my colleagues stooped work because of the pandemic, l don't bla.e them tough.
    God please keep me and all safe.
    Do have a virus free day all

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen..God will protect u from this virus but pls protect urself too.

      Delete
    2. I hope the hospital you're working with, covers your health insurance.

      It seems some Nigerians working in the frontline are ignorant of what their contract contains.

      May the Lord strengthens and protect you all

      Delete
    3. I wish she had just stopped work when she didnt have adequate PPE protection. Know the job must have meant alot to her to be able to provide for the family but now her poor daughter is motherless and d father is quite old if hes 27yrs her senior.
      May she RIP. Very sad

      Delete
  27. Chia this break my heart. May God almighty rest her soul amen

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  28. Chae'this broke my heart oo.Why did you leave your 3years old daughter looking for you eternity.

    Oh God please give the family the fortitude to bear this

    ReplyDelete
  29. Chaii!
    This one is painful, wanted to ask God why her but He's the all knowing God and there's not a single soul out there that deserves to be killed by Covid19 except The BokoHarams, Fulani Herdsmen, Terrorists etc.

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  30. This is very very painful. May her soul rest in perfect peace.

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  31. My heart breaks for this family who has lost their daughter, wife and mother. I personally think this covid patients are dying from neglect in this hospital. I have watched a couple of videos from nurses in NYC and they are saying thersame thing. A covid patient cannot have their family members visit them and advocate for them. My advise to black people is not to trust this hospitals. God comfort the family.

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  32. RIP, God will keep the family she left behind.

    ReplyDelete

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