Jillian “Gill” Dempsey is believed to have been the first Victorian hospital worker to die of coronavirus after she died in intensive care at Box Hill Hospital on Sunday afternoon.
Her employer, Eastern Health, issued a statement mourning the death of a “colleague and friend.”
She remembers Mrs. Dempsey as an “incredibly caring wife and mother”, who was survived by her husband, Michael, and their three children.
“Gil started working at Eastern Health in 2007 and has been a hard working and beloved nurse on the night shift in the emergency department of Angliss Hospital,” the statement read.
“Her colleagues praised the care, warmth and compassion that Jill showed every day.
“Her loss will reverberate around the close-knit team at Angliss Hospital and our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues at this time.”
The Victorian branch of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation also issued a statement following Ms Dempsey’s death.
“We acknowledge the death of LA Hospital emergency department nurse Gail Dempsey after contracting COVID-19,” the statement read.
“Our thoughts are with Jill’s family, friends, and fellow nurses.
“We have been very fortunate despite having a large number of nurses who have tested positive.
“This is something we have been dreading and a sobering reminder that nurses, midwives and all health care workers are on the front line of the pandemic.
“We acknowledge their courage and bravery. This is a reminder of how vulnerable they are.
“Nurses and midwives don’t want to be heroines, they want to go back to their families and loved ones at the end of the shift.”
The union urged everyone to take COVID-19 seriously.
“Please know that nurses, midwives and personal care workers are doing everything they can to take care of you. Please take all possible measures to take care of them.”
The union reminded nurses and midwives that support is available to anyone who needs it.
An online fundraising account was set up to raise money for her family after her death.