A frontline Victorian nurse has died with Covid and been described as an “unsung hero”.
Mother-of-three Gillian “Jill” Dempsey had been an emergency department nurse at the Angliss Hospital in Melbourne’s east since 2007.
Tributes have flowed for Ms Dempsey, who died at Box Hill Hospital’s intensive care unit on Sunday afternoon after contracting Covid.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts we acknowledge the death of Angliss Hospital emergency department nurse Jill Dempsey,” the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian branch) said in a statement late on Tuesday.
“Our thoughts are with Jill’s family, friends and nursing colleagues. There are difficult days ahead. Please look after each other.”
The union said it was a reminder at how vulnerable health workers were on the pandemic frontline.
“We acknowledge their bravery and courage,” the ANMF said.
“We have been very fortunate, despite a large number of nurses testing positive. This is something we feared and a sobering reminder that nurses, midwives and all healthcare workers are on the pandemic frontline.
“Nurses and midwives don’t want to be heroes, they want to go home to their families and loved ones at the end of a shift.
“ANMF will continue to work to ensure nurses, midwives and carers are safe at work.”
The union urged the Victorian community to take Covid seriously.
“Please know nurses, midwives and personal care workers are doing everything they can to care for you. Please take every measure you can to take care of them,” it said.
Ms Dempsey was a hard working and beloved night shift nurse in the emergency department, Eastern Health said in the statement.
She is survived by husband Michael and their three children.
“The bard, executive and staff of Eastern Health mourn the sad death of our colleague and friend Gillian ‘Jill’ Dempsey,” Eastern Health said.
“Her colleagues speak highly of the care, warmth and compassion that Jill demonstrated every day.
“Her loss will reverberate around the tight-knit team at the Angliss Hospital and our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues at this time.”
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been established to help raise money for Ms Dempsey’s funeral and costs.
Fundraising organiser Sandy Taylor described the emergency nurse as an “unsung hero” and “much loved” team member.
“This pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, but none more so than our beloved Jilly and her family,” she wrote.
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