Nurse fired after sharing video from inside DMC Sinai Grace Hospital still helping fight COVID pandemic

Kenisa Barkai spoke out about need for more supplies

Nurse fired over video inside hospital 1 year ago still helps fight the pandemic

DETROIT – It was almost exactly a year ago when a wave of COVID patients was starting to overwhelm hospitals.

A Metro Detroit nurse took a video inside Sinai Grace Hospital and spoke about the need for more supplies.

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley spoke with Kenisa Barkai. She said she has found new ways to help in the fight against COVID-19.

READ: Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases

Last year, Barkai said that she was drawing attention to the hospital and trying to make it clear that they needed more PPE and beds for what she foresaw as a wave of COVID patients that were about to hit. The hospital said that the cellphone video violated hospital policy and Barkai was fired.

“It wasn’t just about the equipment. It was, you know, with everything the education, the information, about what was to be expected. But I don’t -- We could have been prepared for what happened in the last year, actually,” she said.

Detroit and Sinai Grace got hit by a wave of COVID-19 patients to the point the hospital was running out of space for those who were dying. Photos were leaked that showed the remains of people’s loved ones stacked in rooms.

Other nurses at the hospital pleaded for more help, more staff and more protection.

“Working as a nurse. We’re right there and the word has been used over and over. But it’s true. We are on the frontline, in the thick, in the middle of everything,” Barkai said.

Barkai is now on a COVID crisis team that is sent to other states to help. She said the good news is the COVID vaccine and nurses have never been more supportive of each other.

She wants hospital systems to listen to those who continue to be on the frontlines.

“When I start to think about it. I would do it again. Do it again in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t change a thing,” Barkai said.

Barkai is still involved in litigation with the company that owns Sinai Grace. Local 4 reached out to the DMC for comment on the legal case. They said they do not comment on pending litigation.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.