When it was Brittany Bruner-Ringo’s turn to pick the family vacation, it was always New Orleans. A city so full of life.
And that is how family described the 32-year-old who left the Oklahoma plains for the excitement of Southern California.
“She always made the best of things,” her mother, Kim Bruner, said. “It could be the saddest day, and she could make you laugh.”
Bruner-Ringo worked at a dementia care center. On March 19, she admitted a patient flown in from New York. She suspected he might have COVID-19, and she was nervous. For fear of frightening the patients, she hadn’t been allowed to wear a mask or gloves, she told her mom by phone that night. (A spokesperson from her employer said, “We have no issues in our environment using appropriate masking and gloves and have followed CDC guidelines throughout this pandemic. We have always had adequate PPE to protect our residents and associates.”)
The following day, the patient grew worse. Bruner-Ringo checked into a hotel to isolate from her roommate. She later tested positive for COVID-19, but when she developed symptoms did not complain ― even to her mom: “She would say, ‘I’m fine. I’m going to beat this. Don’t worry about me.’”
Bruner, a veteran nurse herself, called the hotel front desk for help getting an ambulance to her daughter. She had just hung up with her daughter, who insisted she was fine, while struggling to breathe.