MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With her gumball machines stacked with prizes, nurse Tasha Jackson spent her days caring for infants, toddlers, and school kids at L and J Pediatrics off NW 204 Street in Miami Gardens.
Tragically, her life ended suddenly Tuesday when ‘nurse Tasha’ as everyone knew her died of COVID in the hospital.
“I’m gonna miss her,” said her friend and boss, Dr. Maria Ruiz Acevedo.
“For me, she was more than a friend. She was family. I knew her since 2008. I spent every day with her,” said Dr. Acevedo.
“She never had a bad day. She loved living,” said coworker Ingrid Ruiz.
Jackson was a single mother of five and although two of her children had autism, she never missed a day of work.
Her deep understanding of children with special needs made her invaluable.
“She was always reaching out to parents who weren’t aware of therapies and would provide information to them,” said Ruiz.
According to Dr. Acevedo, Jackson contracted COVID last month and went to the hospital in mid-July.
“She texted me and said my oxygen has dropped to 70 percent,” said Dr. Acevedo.
After a few days in the hospital, she was put on a ventilator.
During her treatment, Dr. Acevedo said, Jackson was mostly stable.
No one thought she wouldn’t pull through. She was in perfect health with no underlying conditions.
This past Tuesday, the hospital called to say she had taken a turn for the worse.
“It was devastating,” says Lavonne Smith, when she heard the news.
Smith has been bringing her five kids to the practice 20 years, a big reason for that was nurse Tasha.
“She was outgoing, outspoken, and kind. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe her. It brings home this pandemic as real,” she says
There’s a Gofundme page to help Tasha’s family with funeral costs.
The funeral will be a joint service for Tasha and her mother Vera Penn.
Sadly, Penn died of COVID at Hialeah hospital just days before her Daughter, according to Dr Acevedo.
Click here if you would like to contribute to nurse Tasha’s Gofundme page.