NY State Nurses Association honors fallen Filipino front liners
NEW YORK – Ten Filipino nurses taken by the coronavirus pandemic as of press time were among the medical front liners honored by the New York State Nurses Association on its website. Pat Kane, RN, compiled and wrote the following tributes:
IRENE (RENE) BURGONIO, RN
Irene (Rene) Burgonio became a NYSNA member in 2003, when she started working as a hemodialysis nurse. She was a beloved, long-time leader at Long Island College Hospital before it closed, and more recently had been working at Fresenius in Brooklyn. She passed away on May 9, 2020, at fifty-four years old.
AZINET PUDPUD, RN
Azinet Pudpud, RN started working at Lincoln Hospital in 1995, most recently working in the Neonatal ICU. Azinet passed away on April 27, 2020, on the eve of her 62nd birthday. She will be sorely missed by colleagues.
As her loving husband Danny Pudpud wrote, “She was a very selfless person and thinks and cares about her patients wellbeing and condition first. She takes care of them without any mental reservation. She is well loved by her coworkers and is the life and joy of the group.”
“It was her lifelong mission to help provide generously for the financial well being of her family and help them achieve financial independence and self-reliance. She always thought of others even if she only knew them for a short period of time. She easily gets close to anyone she just met. She will be forever remembered as the beautiful and loving person that she is,” he added.
ROMEO AGTARAP, RN
Romeo Agtarap passed away from COVID-19 on April 24, 2020. A 63 year-old Registered Nurse and active NYSNA member, Romeo worked in the Emergency Department of New York Presbyterian for 20 years before retiring last year. He had since returned to work as a per diem. His colleagues remember his wit and the way Romeo loved to make them laugh.
MARLINO CAGAS, RN
Marlino Cagas, an RN at Harlem Hospital and active NYSNA member, passed away April 20, 2020. Cagas worked as a pharmacy tech at Harlem Hospital for many years, before embarking on a nursing career at age 60. He started at the bedside in 2018, and will be sorely missed by his Harlem Hospital colleagues. He is survived by two sisters here in New York, and several other siblings in the Philippines.
ESTELITA ATIENZA SOLOMON, RN
Estelita Atienza Solomon, a 72 year-old retired head nurse from Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, passed away from COVID-19 on April 10, 2020. Solomon worked at Wyckoff for more than 35 years. Solomon is survived by her daughter Catherine Solomon, an active NYSNA member at Mt. Sinai Hospital who is currently recovering from COVID-19 herself. Tragically, Catherine and her sister also lost their father, Antonio Solomon, to the virus two weeks prior to losing their mother Estelita.
NICANOR BALTAZAR, RN
Nicanor “Nick” Baltazar, a registered nurse from Long Island Care Center in Flushing, NY, passed away from COVID-19 on March 31, 2020. He dedicated 40 years of his life to nursing, 30 of those here in America. He worked in Long Island Care Center for 15 years, and this year would have been his 5th year as the Director of Nursing. He leaves behind his wife Grace Baltazar, also an RN, and his daughter Abigail Baltazar, who just graduated with her BSN. He will be terribly missed by his family and all of those who have worked with him.
SUSAN SISGUNDO, RN
Susan Sisgundo, a Neonatal ICU nurse and NYSNA member at Bellevue Hospital passed away on Wednesday April 8 from COVID-19. She was being treated at Queens Hospital. Prior to joining the New York City Health + Hospitals system she worked at Flushing Hospital. A native of the Philippines, Susan was an active NYSNA member, including participation in NYSNA events like our annual lobby day. Susan’s colleagues are organizing to help reunite her with her family in the Philippines. Read more tributes from her colleagues, and how to help her family, here.
ERWIN LAMBRENTO, RN
Erwin Lambrento was an ER nurse at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where he was an active NYSNA member and served for more than two decades. A native of the Philippines, Erwin was known to brighten up many colleagues’ and patients’ evenings working the night shift. He passed away on May 9, 2020 at fifty-nine years old. Erwin is survived by his wife, Aurora Ibera-Lambrento, a retired respiratory therapist, as well as his son Sigmund and daughter Cara.
You can read a moving tribute from Erwin’s nephew, Ernesto Jon Ebuen here. Almost 20 years ago, Erwin helped his nephew come to the US from the Philippines to compete in a table tennis tournament. Ten years later, Ernesto founded the Philippine Table Tennis Academy to teach others the sport. In honor of his uncle, “Tito Erwin,” Ernesto is now renaming the academy the Erwin Lambrento Table Tennis Academy. First responders held a tribute to Erwin outside of Elmhurst Hospital the night he passed away.
MARIA GUIA CABILLON
Mama Guia, as her colleagues called her, worked as the Head Nurse of Kings County Hospital Center’s Emergency Department. She is an active NYSNA member, and served in the hospital for more than 30 years. She also worked at New York Community Hospital in Brooklyn. She passed away on April 26, 2020 due to COVID-19, and is survived by her husband, 4 daughters, 2 grandkids, sisters, nieces, and nephews. Here is a link to a news video about Guia.
Co-worker Shane Degracia, RN composed a messagehonoring Guia.
A GoFundMe page was established by fellow co-workers to offset the cost of the funeral and transportation of her remains back to Iloilo City, Philippines.
ABC7NY featured a profile of Maria Cabillon on Eyewitness News today, May 9
ERNESTO “AUDIE” DELEON
Ernesto “Audie” DeLeon was an ADN at Bellevue Hospital, where he worked for over 30 years. On April 13, 2020, DeLeon lost his 13 day battle with COVID-19. You can find out more about DeLeon and how to support his family here.
Audie’s colleague Claire Martinez shared these memories: “During his tenure, he was an incredible inspiration and a mentor to hundreds of nurses, doctors and other clinical staff. He was an immensely kind soul with a humble demeanor. He will always be dearly loved by his friends who have become family, his coworkers, and relatives.”
Ernesto’s colleagues at Bellevue Hospital held a service in his honor, and posted a portion of the remembrance on YouTube.