Elmhurst Hospital ER nurse dies from coronavirus

Erwin Lamberto

The Filipino American community in New York and New Jersey continues to lose frontliners, mostly nurses, to the coronavirus in the last couple of weeks.

Over the weekend, emergency room nurse Erwin Lambrento, 58, lost his life after a month of battling the virus.

Lambrento was a nurse at NYC Health + Hospitals in Elmhurst, the hospital in the New York epicenter of this pandemic. His death was announced on Saturday, May 9.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of nurse Erwin Lambrento. He served our patients and community for over two decades at NYC Health + Hospitals Elmhurst,” NYC Health + Hospitals said in a statement. “As we continue to respond to this unprecedented global public health crisis, we remain forever grateful for his service on the front lines.”

According to the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, 53% of registered nurses, 61% of nursing care facilities personnel, and 78% of home health care services workers in New York City are foreign-born.

In the 10 northeast states covered by the Philippine Consulate General in New York, 90 Filipinos have been reported to succumb from the disease, 30 of them frontliners like Lambrento.

Colleagues and coworkers, including FDNY and EMS, gathered to honor Lambrento in a vigil outside the Elmhurst Hospital. | Contributed photo

Testimonials from co-workers calling themselves ‘Hurst Crew, friends and relatives have poured on social media. Some of them also attended a vigil outside the hospital to express their gratitude to their fallen colleague.

“Please remember Erwin. He just died of Covid19. He was a world-class nurse at Elmhurst Hospital in NY,” Dr. Jeremy Faust wrote on Twitter. Dr. Faust used to work with Lambrento at Elmhurst Hospital.

“When I was a resident physician there, he worked triage. When he said, ‘Doc, come take a look at this patient,’ I knew I’d better get over there,” he shared.

According to his nephew Ernesto Ebuen, Lambrento fought the virus for more than a month. The disease severely damaged his lungs and kidneys.

Lambrento, a doctor in the Philippines, is survived by his wife Au and children Sigmund and Cara and his parents Macario and Dominga Lambrento.

“At an early age, he recognized the importance of education in his life, thus he put his focus on his education and he succeeded by graduating as a physician. As a doctor in Philippines, he served a lot of sick people in the hospital and in the community,” Ebuen said. “He happily and generously gave his professional services for free to his community. Prior to migrating to the U.S. to join his wife Tita Au, he also studied to become a registered nurse.”

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Editor’s note: The Asian Journal is working to document those of Filipino descent who have lost their lives because of the coronavirus in the United States. If you know of someone or would like to offer a remembrance of someone who has died of COVID-19, please tell us about them by emailing digital@asianjournalinc.com with the subject line “Remembering Lives Lost.”

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