Isabelle Papadimitriou: Texas ‘Healthcare Hero’ Dies of COVID-19

Isabelle Papadimitriou

Facebook/obit Isabelle Papadimitriou

Isabelle Papadimitriou, a respiratory therapist from Texas who died of COVID-19, was remembered as a compassionate spirit who helped others breathe in a family obituary that chastises politicians for their response to the virus and urges the public to take coronavirus precautions to protect the lives of “healthcare heroes” in her honor.

“…like hundreds and thousands of others, she should still be alive today,” her obituary says. “Her undeserving death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to hedge their bets on the lives of healthcare workers through a lack of leadership, through a refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and through an inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize the risks of the coronavirus.”

The obituary says it clearly and simply: “Her death could have been prevented.”

“Now, every year, on July 4th, when Americans celebrate their independence and watch the fireworks in awe, her family will be reminded of how their very resistance–rooted in liberty–detrimentally clashed with Isabelle’s inalienable right to life,” the obit continues. “Isabelle’s son and daughter are channeling their grief and anger into driving home the severity and realness of COVID-19 so fewer families are forced to endure this nightmare. They ask you to honor Isabelle’s life by wearing a mask, remaining socially distant, washing your hands and staying inside as much as you can for yourself, for others, and especially for our healthcare heroes.”

“Some people only walk this earth for a short time. Their departure reminds us that angels truly are watching over us,” the obituary says. According to CNN, it was published by Papadimitriou’s daughter, Fiana Tulip.

“On July 4, Isabelle Odette Hilton Papadimitriou rejoined her heavenly family and gained her wings. Isabelle passed just one week after battling a mild case of COVID-19,” the obit reads.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Papadimitriou’s Daughter Also Wrote an Open Letter to the Texas Governor, Inviting Him to Her Mother’s Funeral

In an open letter published in the Austin-American Statesman, Papadimitriou’s daughter invited Texas Governor Greg Abbott to her mother’s funeral.

“Despite having a loving family and many friends, she died alone less than one week after testing positive for coronavirus. She had no known underlying health conditions. She was 64 years old. She died on July 4, Independence Day.” Tulip wrote.

The letter chronicles Papadimitriou’s brief but fatal struggle with COVID-19 and says to Abbott, “My mother likely contracted the virus at the hospital where she worked during the period when your Executive Order No. GA-18 forbade local governments from implementing their own safety measures, such as mandating the wearing of masks, to protect the public and healthcare workers from the spread of COVID-19.”

“My mother mattered,” continued Tulip, who is a sales and marketing specialist in Brooklyn, New York.


2. Papadimitriou Was Described as a ‘Compassionate Spirit’ Who ‘Helped Others Breathe’ as a Respiratory Therapist

The obituary describes Papadimitriou’s life as a young woman, saying she played flirt and twirled baton at Brownsville, Texas, high school. She was born in that community.

The obit says that “Isabelle was a compassionate spirit” whose fervor “was caring for others.” That personality trait led her to switch careers to “spend her days helping others breathe as a respiratory therapist” about 30 years ago.

She had two children, Isaac and Fiana. “The mental drive, focus and commitment needed for her job on the front line were admirable. But it was her infectious smile, joyful spirit, and strong will that made her a ray of light in everyone’s life,” the obit reads.


3. Nicknamed ‘Obie,’ Papadimitriou Loved Dogs & the Greek Orthodox Religion

Papadimitriou was a dog lover, a lover of books, and an adherent to Greek Orthodox religion, who was also a grandmother. She enjoyed traveling.

“Isabelle was a giant, and powerful in her kindness. She made a difference each and every day in many people’s lives,” the obituary reads.

Here Facebook page lists a series of healthcare jobs over the years:

Independent Brand Partner at Neora
Registered Resp. Therapist at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation
Travel Registered Respiratory Therapist at PRCS
Registered (R) at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
Former Reg Resp Therapist at G.I.M.C. ~ Gallup Indian Medical Center
Former Reg Resp Therapist @Queens Med Center at The Queen’s Medical Center
Former Registered Respiratory Therapist at Kindred Healthcare
Former Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) at Medical City Dallas Hospital

The page says she “studied Registered Respiratory Therapist at Health Sciences Presbyterian of Dallas” and “studied Musical work at Texas Southmost College.”

It says she was single. Her page is filled with pictures of family.


4. An Arizona Man’s Family Also Called Out Politicians in His COVID-19 Obituary

mark urquiza

Marked by COVID Facebook pageMark Urquiza.

The family of Papadimitriou is not the only one to use an obituary to excoriate the government’s COVID-19 response. Mark Urquiza was an Arizona man who died of COVID-19, and his obituary contains an unusual line in which his family calls out “careless” politicians for not taking the virus seriously enough.

“Mark, like so many others, should not have died from COVID-19,” his obituary says. “His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk.”

In interviews, Urquiza’s daughter, Kristin Urquiza, made it clear she’s upset by the way in which Arizona’s governor, Doug Ducey, and President Donald Trump have handled the COVID-19 crisis, telling The Washington Post, “Despite all of the effort that I had made to try to keep my parents safe, I couldn’t compete with the governor’s office and I couldn’t compete with the Trump administration.” Her father had started going out again because of messaging from the governor’s office and Trump that it was OK, she told the newspaper.

You can read more about Mark Urquiza here.


5. COVID-19 Cases Have Skyrocketed in Texas

The State of Texas reported on July 21 that there were 1,000+ new COVID19 fatalities in the State of Texas in the previous 10 days.

“In the last 7 days, (7/21-7/15), Texas averaged:

9,358 new cases per day

10,604 current hospitalizations

118 new fatalities reported per day.”

You can see the government’s COVID-19 reopening page here.

According to the Houston Chronicle, in response to the rise in cases, Governor Abbott said on July 20 that “he will not re-institute a statewide lockdown in Texas as long as individuals continue to wear masks.” He “ordered bars shutdown once again and he scaled back on restaurant capacity.”

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