Pictures of Bernadette Rolle from social media.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
NURSE Bernadette Rolle left a heartbreaking message describing her ordeal as she fought COVID-19 in a clinic.
A voice note she sent to loved ones detailing her deteriorating health circulated on social media over the weekend and captured the fears she had for herself and her family.
At one point she expressed hope that she would overcome the disease, saying: “…I out of the worst, I out of the worst (sic).”
Instead, she died on Friday, one of ten people whose death from COVID-19 was confirmed in the last week, according to information provided up to press time.
In the recording, Nurse Rolle said the difficulty she felt breathing and eating was “scary”, likening her battle with COVID-19 to a rollercoaster ride.
“It’s just, oh my God,” she said breathlessly.
The mother-of-two worked at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre and was being treated at the South Beach Clinic when she died.
She said in the audio that another nurse prayed with her and reminded her that she had to fight for her children.
“I know that, I know that,” she said, “it’s just like a roller coaster, one thing everything smooth, then the next minute it’s just oh my God.”
She later said: “This ain’ easy, this ain’ easy…oh my god, this just scary, just scary, the fight to breathe ain’ easy, fighting to try eat and you don’t have no appetite…I was vomiting, oh Jesus, oh God, just keep fighting and praying.”
In a statement, the Public Hospitals Authority said Nurse Rolle worked with the PHA for about 14 years. “Nurse Rolle worked across various wards at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre,” the PHA said. “SRC Hospital Administrator Mary Lightbourne-Walker described the loss as one that is a blow to the Sandilands family. She convened an emergency meeting this morning to advise staff at SRC of Nurse Rolle’s passing and to address any concerns they may have in her capacity as hospital administrator.”
Health Minister Renward Wells also released a statement, saying: “Nurse Rolle was dedicated to her family, to her patients, and to the institutions of nursing and SRC.”
Bahamas Nurses Union President Amancha Williams said in an interview with Eyewitness News that Nurse Rolle was allegedly turned away from Princess Margaret Hospital twice when she sought treatment.
However a hospital source told The Tribune the nurse refused to be admitted on two different occasions. Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis is expected to discuss the nurse during his national address this evening.
In a statement, Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell called on Dr Minnis and Mr Wells to ensure nurses are not turned away from the hospital and that their overtime is paid.
“Nurse Rolle symbolises the value, courage and inherent risks associated with being on the frontline of this pandemic fight,” Mr Mitchell said. “We call on the government to do more to protect the health and ensure the safety of our gland frontline workers. The prime minister must sit as a matter of urgency with the nurse’s union and arrest this rapidly deteriorating labour impasse by resolving all outstanding issues in the public’s interest before more lives are lost.”
Earlier this month health officials confirmed that 23 people on the Male Ward at SRC tested positive for COVID-19 after a staff member who worked across three wards of the institution tested positive.
Of the patients testing positive, six presented with symptoms and another 17 were asymptomatic, officials said in a statement at the time.