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Filipino physician-turned-nurse in New York dies of COVID-19

Dozens of friends, coworkers and other medical professionals who call themselves the ‘Hurst crew (Elmhurst Hospital crew) came together for a “siren salute” to say their last goodbyes to a Filipino hero who lost his life on the frontlines in the battle against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
 
Erwin Lambrento, 58, was an emergency room (ER) nurse at the Elmhurst Hospital in New York City, the epicenter of the US pandemic.
 
Lambrento, described as a stalwart on the night shift and the “king of triage," succumbed to COVID-19 while being treated at the Mount Sinai Hospital on Saturday morning.
 
He was respected by his peers for his steady work and dedication to his work as an ER nurse.
 
Among the last few people to visit Lambrento while he was fighting for his life on a ventilator at Mount Sinai was his nephew Ernesto Jon Ebuen.
 
“I never knew how he touched so many people until I saw the prayer vigil that they did for my uncle.. All the retired nurses, doctors, EMT, firemen, police, staff, went over there,” Ebuen said. “It pains me that he's not able to see how much people loved him, respected him and appreciated him.” 
 
Ebuen said it was his uncle’s generosity that paved the way for him to migrate to the US and pursue his dreams.
 
“Every time I see a post about you it hurts me but it always makes me proud that you are my Tito,” he said. “I was able to be in my position because you helped me and opened the doors for me.”

Ebuen said many people do not know was that his uncle Lambrento was a physician in the Philippines who became an ER nurse when he migrated to the US. 
 
More than 21,000 people in New York have died from the coronavirus.
 
In the North East Coast alone, in the 10 states covered by the Philippine Consulate General in New York City, 30 of the 90 Filipinos who died of COVID-19 were health workers. 
 
“He risked his life in the service of helping, caring and saving lives of people he doesn’t even know, and putting his own life in danger,” Ebuen said.
 
Ebuen said Lambrento had described that working in the ER was like being "in a zoo, it’s crazy, never been seen, never been experienced."

"He even showed me what kind of gas mask he was wearing,” he added. 
 
Though Ebuen graduated with a degree in nursing in the Philippines, he said he has yet to decide whether to go back to the healthcare field.
 
“I would love to be of service and be able to help.”