Nicole Sirotek is the Nevada nurse who traveled to New York City to assist during the coronavirus surge and has shared a horrifying account of what she claims has been happening in at least two hospitals during the outbreak.
In a video that is being widely shared online, Sirotek alleges that patients are dying not from COVID-19 but because of “medical mismanagement” and “gross negligence.” She further claims that hospital management and advocacy groups do not care whether minority patients live or die. She says, “I am literally telling you that they’re murdering these people.”
Heavy has reached out to Sirotek via email for further comment. Sirotek did not name the two specific hospitals where she had been working, but a fellow nurse named Quinton Martinez told the New York Post that Sirotek was first assigned to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens before she was transferred. Martinez said Sirotek was “shipped out” of the second hospital after the video was published online.
Heavy has reached out to the public affairs department at Elmhurst Hospital as well as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office for comment on Sirotek’s allegations. We have not yet heard back.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sirotek Claims Hospital Management Took Patients Away From Her After She Tried to Advocate For Better Care
Sirotek was tearful throughout the 24-minute video that has been shared on YouTube. She claimed that when she tried to advocate on behalf of her minority patients, the hospital administration would move her to a different unit and remove specific patients from her care. Sirotek said this happened at two different hospitals in the New York City area but never mentioned the facilities by name. She explained in the video:
I legitimately don’t even know what to do anymore Even the advocacy groups don’t give a sh*t about these people. Literally, black lives don’t matter here. And, I mean, that’s pretty sad that somebody who’s white and lives hundreds of miles away from this city gives more of a sh*t about these people than the actual people in this city.
I had a complete breakdown yesterday because I missed an important email to do a revision on my proposal, so my proposal got canceled because I was trying to advocate for my patient and talk to management here and get the care that he needs because he’s being medically mismanaged. And I just had a complete f*cking breakdown because you know what, my entire proposal got canceled because I wasted my time advocating for a f*cking patient that’s just going to die anyway. And sure enough, they take the patient away from me. And then, almost two hours into the shift, they switch me units. This is exactly what happened at the other hospital when I was advocating for the little Hispanic lady.
According to the New York Health Department, nearly 14,000 people with confirmed COVID-19 cases have died from the virus as of May 6. Another 5,359 who have died were classified as “probable” COVID-19 cases. Data released in mid-April showed that black people were twice as likely to die from the coronavirus as white people in New York City.
2. Sirotek Claims She Has Witnessed Patients Die Due to Improper Medical Care & That Hospital Management Turns a Blind Eye
Sirotek insisted repeatedly during the video that many patients in New York City are dying because of incorrect medical care. She claimed hospital administrations are letting people “rot on the ventilator” without additional remedies.
I know not everybody’s gonna live. I’m not that f*cking green or ignorant or bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to think that. I know we’re going to have a sh*t ton of people die. But these people aren’t dying from COVID.
Sirotek listed several examples she claims to have witnessed.
An anesthesiologist intubated the patient’s … I think it was right bronchi of a patient and they couldn’t get the sats up and for about five hours, we were waiting on a chest x-ray to confirm that the placement was wrong. And in the meantime, while we were waiting for that, we’ve told the anesthesiologist that it was placed wrong, because literally only one side of his f*cking chest was inflating, he dies.
A patient had a heart rate of 40 and the resident starts doing chest compressions on him, which is not what you do. You just externally pace them or you give them some atropine. And then I run in there to stop him from doing chest compressions on somebody with a f*cking pulse. And then he decides to push epi. He throws some pads on him to defibrillate the guy … he has a heart rate of 40 … you just need to give him some atropine and pace him. He f*cking defibrillates him and kills him.
I was literally, ran out of the patient’s room to get the director of nursing, who was standing out there, and I’m like, ‘Can you stop him? He’s going to kill that patient. He’s going to kill that patient if he defibrillates him.’ The director of nursing just shook his head. And I turned around, and he killed the dude.
Sirotek claimed another patient died after a nurse injected him with the wrong type of insulin. She also alleged that a coworker fell asleep at the nurse’s station, missed an alert and that a patient suffered brain damage because of it.
Sirotek said she worked with other nurses at the New York City hospitals who agreed with her that the patients deserved better care. But she says no one was willing to speak up about it. She added that on more than once occasion, she was assigned a patient who had already passed away.
Am I the only one who’s not a sociopath? To think that this is ok? I mean guys, they literally don’t even know when they’re dead. How many times have I told you they’ve assigned me a dead person? How long have they been dead? Nobody knows. How is anybody assessing anything without a stethoscope?
3. Sirotek: ‘Nobody Cares Because They’re All Minorities’
Sirotek tearfully explained that her anguish came from having to watch people die needlessly on a daily basis. She claimed bigotry is playing a role in the treatment from doctors and administrators:
They’re not dying of COVID, ok? Yeah, people are going to f*cking die of COVID. Some people legit will end up with multi-organ failure and legit have clots and f*cking die, people. I know this, I’m not like some f*cking new grad student that’s going to save everybody in the world. I am literally telling you that they’re murdering these people. And nobody will listen to me.
And nobody cares because they’re all minorities and we’re in the f*cking hood. And that’s just not okay. I grew up really poor and so I know what it’s like to be completely forgotten and for nobody to advocate for you. And that’s why I get really upset guys because like I said, I know that a lot of people are gonna die. But COVID didn’t cause that pneumo. And an incorrectly placed ET tube … they wouldn’t let me fix it. All I had to do was adjust it and they wouldn’t let me do it.
So if anyone’s got any idea of what the hell I can do to save my one black guy before they completely transfer me out of this hospital, that would be great. Because he’s mentally there … He just physically can’t communicate with us … He’s a cab driver who lives just a couple blocks away from here.
Sirotek said before recording the video she tried to address her concerns with hospital administrators. She says her protests were ignored.
Nobody is listening. They don’t care what is happening to these people. They don’t. I’m literally coming here everyday and watching them kill them … I tried calling advocacy groups. I tried talking with management here like the nursing admin. Nothing. Nobody’s doing anything … It’s like going in the f*cking Twilight Zone. Everyone here is ok with this.
The only way I can kind of put this into context for everybody is, and this is going to be kind of an extreme example, this is really the only thing I can come up with. It’s like if we were in Nazi Germany, and they were taking the Jews to go put them in a gas chamber, I’m the one there saying ‘Hey, this is not good. This is bad. This is wrong. We should not be doing this.’
And then everyone tells me, ‘hang in there, you’re doing a great job. You can’t save everybody. You’re amazing. You’re a great nurse.’ Guys, I know I’m a f*cking great nurse. I know I go in there and I give it 500% every day. I know I’m not being negligent. Ok, I f*cking know that. What I need is someone to help me save these people from being killed. Ok, from gross negligence and complete medical mismanagement. And no one is listening to me.
4. Sirotek Has Been Working as a Nurse Since at Least 2010
Sirotek has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and is a registered nurse in Nevada. According to the Nevada State Board of Nursing, Sirotek first earned her license in 2010. There are no disciplinary actions listed on her profile. Her current license is set to expire on July 30, at which time it will need to be renewed.
According to the Elko Daily, Sirotek is a home health nurse. She previously worked in the intensive care unit at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital and with American Med Flight. She told the local newspaper on April 28, “I have never seen anything like this in the United States. When I first came here they assigned me to an impromptu unit that was staffed with all sorts of different types of nurses. They put me specifically on that unit because I was the only one with ventilator experience.”
Sirotek is also listed as an employee at Great Basin College in Elko, which is located in northern Nevada. According to the school’s website, Sirotek is the Certified Nursing Assistant Coordinator.
5. Sirotek Is Married With Two Children
Sirotek has been married since November 2013, according to her husband’s Facebook page, and they have two young children. Her own Facebook account appears to have been either suspended or deleted.
Her husband posted on Facebook about his wife’s work in New York City and how proud he was of her for making that sacrifice. On April 25, he also alluded to Sirotek being transferred to a different hospital:
It really really sucks missing the wife. I know she’s kicking ass in New York. These little monsters definitely make it a lot easier and harder at the same time. Thank god we have Melissa and victor to help also. Just Missing you wifey, have a good day at a different hospital my love.
Multiple people posted on Sirotek’s page after his wife’s video was published online. He shared that Sirotek is back home in Nevada and will have to quarantine for 14 days. He wrote that she was doing “fine” and advised, “For the news outlets and politicians, if she wants to contact you, she will. Just give her time to deal with the traumas she has dealt with. Thank you everyone else for just checking on my wife, it means a lot!!!”