Funeral procession begins for Tulsa paramedic who died after battle with COVID-19

VIDEO: Funeral procession begins for Tulsa paramedic who died from COVID-19

TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa paramedic who died after being diagnosed with coronavirus will be laid to rest Tuesday.

Debbie Rusher had been with EMSA for nearly 22 years and died last week.

Funeral procession for Tulsa EMSA paramedic

The funeral procession for Tulsa paramedic Debbie Rusher is getting underway. Debbie died due to COVID-19. FOX23 Sara Whaley will have details on FOX23 News At 11 >>> https://bit.ly/38gfWZx

Posted by FOX23 News on Tuesday, January 5, 2021
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Rusher’s peers posted on Facebook previously that she had not been doing well and had been intubated. It has been a couple of months since that post.

Officials say they believe Rusher’s death is motivating more paramedics to get the COVID-19 vaccine. About a third of the force has gotten the vaccine, and dozens more are signed up.

Nov. 30, 2020 - First responders are honoring Debbie Rusher who is in the hospital battling COVID-19.
Nov. 30, 2020 - First responders are honoring Debbie Rusher who is in the hospital battling COVID-19. (Rusher family)

Back in November local first responders gathered at St. John’s hospital “lighting up the sky” with their emergency lights to show support.

At one point, EMSA officials said they had six paramedics out with Coronavirus and one in isolation waiting for a test result to come back.

Officials say they have the same protocols in place that they have had since the beginning of the pandemic, including dispatch telling them if a call is potentially a COVID-19 patient and strict use of PPE.

Nov. 30, 2020 - First responders are honoring Debbie Rusher who is in the hospital battling COVID-19.
Nov. 30, 2020 - First responders are honoring Debbie Rusher who is in the hospital battling COVID-19. (Rusher family)

They do not know if Rusher contracted the virus on the job, but they hope her fight will serve as a reminder for people to do what they can, like wear a mask, to protect others, especially for first responders.

They ask if you have COVID-19-like symptoms and feel you need to go to the hospital and it is not an emergency situation to drive yourself, or have a family member drive you to the hospital.