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Genea Bristol: Lawnwood Regional Medical Center nurse fighting COVID-19 for second time

'Basically, they're telling me that she's not going to survive,' mother says
Posted at 6:23 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 07:52:50-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Fort Pierce nurse and mother of three is fighting for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19 for the second time.

Her family is pushing for a transfer to another hospital where they hope her chances of survival might improve.

Genea Bristol, 41, is a registered nurse with Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, where she is also receiving treatment.

The front-line worker first contracted COVID-19 in April.

"She was asymptomatic, pretty much no breathing issues," her mother, Belinda Bristol, said. "I was concerned because she was born with asthma. So, I was concerned, as well as she was concerned."

Genea Bristol made a full recovery and returned to work, coming as a relief to her family.

In mid-January, Belinda Bristol said her daughter tested positive for a second time and was admitted to the hospital.

After receiving treatment for several weeks, Belinda Bristol said her daughter's condition was critical.

"She's stable but not improving," Belinda Bristol said. "At this point, [doctors] are not giving me much hope of her improving. Basically, they're telling me that she's not going to survive."

Belinda Bristol
"She's stable but not improving," Belinda Bristol says of her daughter, Genea Bristol, who is at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.

She said Genea Bristol has been put on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation machine, which is used to support the heart and lungs when a ventilator may not be enough.

"Basically, resting her lungs and her heart in hopes her lungs can recover," Belinda Bristol said.

Belinda Bristol said she did research on facilities with higher success rates with ECMO machines and said she was impressed by several hospitals in Florida, including AdventHealth in Orlando.

She said she has been trying to get a transfer for her daughter but is hitting roadblocks, unable to get the transfer approved. She is not sure why.

Belinda Bristol enlisted the help of attorney and former Fort Pierce Commissioner Reggie Sessions.

"Let's forget about all this red tape," Sessions said. "Five, 10, 20, 25,000 dollars, whatever the cost may be, let's do what we have to do in order to get her in a better facility."

A spokesperson for Lawnwood Regional Medical Center said the hospital "is committed to providing the highest level of care to all of our patients, and if a patient is clinically able to be transferred and there is an accepting facility with an accepting provider, our hospital will accommodate patient and family wishes."

"I have every hope in the world that she's going to be transferred," Belinda Bristol said. "I'm not stopping."

Belinda Bristol said a transfer to Orlando could cost about $8,000. The family created a GoFundMe account to raise money to help pay for the cost.