RAYMONDVILLE, Texas (KVEO) – It was a quiet Thanksgiving for a Texas family mourning the loss of their 27-year-old daughter.
Brittany Palomo was a nurse at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. She passed away November 21 from COVID-19.
Her stepfather Robert Salinas, mother Maria Palomo Salinas, two little sisters and a little brother, friends and family honored her at the Good Shepherd Funeral Home in Raymondville.
Some of them wore Chicago Cubs jerseys and others wore t-shirts with Brittany’s picture.
They said Brittany was a smart student who also loved sports and helped with her brother’s baseball team.
“She was also my assistant coach, so people knew her besides nurse Brittany, she was coach Brittany as well,” he said.
Those who knew her described her as an independent, fun and loving daughter. She was always eager to spend time with family and was close to her younger siblings and grandmother, who also passed recently.
Brittany had started her nursing career last December, just before the COVID-19 pandemic became serious in the Rio Grande Valley. She worked as an emergency room nurse.
“She loved her job,” Palomo Salinas said.
“No matter how stressful it was or how hard it was, she’d accomplish anything. I mean, she just pushed herself. She was very self-reliant,” Salinas said.
Salinas said Brittany was ready to start her life. He had just finished helping her furnish an apartment in Harlingen that she moved into about a month ago.
Not long after moving, her parents noticed changes in her energy levels. They attributed it to her long shifts at the hospital and very little sleep.
Palomo Salinas said Britanny had taken a COVID-19 test and received a negative result. She got retested November 16.
“She was weak and it didn’t seem like Brittany,” Salinas said.
The family was confident she would bounce back, just like she did two years ago when she almost lost her life from complications caused by diabetic ketoacidosis.
On Wednesday, November 18, Brittany called her mother to come over and help her take a bath because she was too weak.
Her parents went over and Brittany told them she had retested for COVID-19 and received a positive result. Salinas said that’s when they decided Brittany needed to go to the hospital.
“I went to the car, I got her and I go, ‘Baby, they’re not gonna let me go in with you. I wish I could be there with you,’” Palomo Salinas recalled about her last interaction with her daughter outside of the hospital. “I told her, ‘Baby, if you need something or whatever, you just need to call me, I’m right there in the parking lot so they can call me.’”
No calls ever came. Palomo Salinas says she struggled to get updates from the hospital about her daughter’s condition.
Hours after Brittany went in, the hospital let Palomo Salinas know that Brittany had gotten a room in the Intensive Care Unit. Palomo Salinas says she continued to struggle getting updates after that.
On Friday, the doctor let Palomo Salinas know Brittany’s heart stopped at 6:30 p.m. and she was resuscitated.
Palomo Salinas was allowed to visit her and stayed with her for two hours. She says she left at 11:30 p.m. and around 1:30 a.m., she got a call saying Brittany was not going to make it through the night.
They went to the hospital and witnessed the nurses trying to stabilize Brittany, but she did not make it. Brittany passed at 2 a.m. on Saturday.
“My heart just dropped, knowing that our daughter passed,” Salinas said.
“It was just the Wednesday to that Friday. It was just so fast. So unexpected,” Salinas described about how quickly the virus took his daughter.
“I thought she was gonna come out of it,” Palomo Salinas added.
The family wants to use their experience to caution others.
“It’s no joke. It’s no joke. I myself didn’t believe in it because working up north, we don’t wear masks in the drilling field. But here, it’s different,” Salinas said.
The family does not know where Brittany contracted COVID-19, but they do not think she got it from the hospital where she worked.
The RGV Nurse Honor Guard held a ceremony at the funeral home today, honoring Brittany and relieving her of her duty as a nurse.
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