Tampa pediatric nurse, mother of 3, dies from COVID-19

Daughters devastated by loss of mother, nurse

Aaron Mesmer reports

TAMP, FL. – Nikki Bass’s life revolved around children; her three girls—Ally, Sierra, and Hannah—and the children she treated at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.

Known to patients as “Nurse Nikki,” Bass was a pediatric nurse. As in other hospitals, the situation at St. Joe’s had worsened due to rising pediatric COVID-19 cases.

“One day she came home and she said, ‘Every kid we had today tested positive and it’s just too much,'” Sierra recalls.

That didn’t stop her. She continued to try to help children as they battled COVID.

But one day, a few weeks ago, something happened that changed everything for this family.

“A small child managed to put on her glasses and cough. And so we think that’s how she got it,” Ally said.

She and the rest of her family contracted COVID-19.

“Don’t you think it’s so bad,” Sierra said, barely holding back her tears. “But when you get it, it’s terrible. It’s terrible.’

Nurse Nikki’s Daughters, Ally, Sierra and Hannah

And it wasn’t long before Nikki, who had not been vaccinated, was hospitalized as a patient and her condition deteriorated.

“She would cry, of course, but she would call us about how much she loved us. She said, ‘I love you so much.’ And she would just call about that,” Sierra recalled.

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The calls eventually stopped when Nikki ended up on a ventilator and was unable to breathe on her own. Not long after, she died at the age of 38.

“She was the kindest, most generous, loving daughter and mother she could be,” said Bass’s mother Anita Ward. “We miss her every minute of every day. She was thrilled that she lost her job as a nurse. She absolutely loved her patients, her colleagues.”

Family photo of Ally, Sierra and Hannah

One of those people is Ahlan Akar. She’s also a pediatric nurse who has been working with Nikki since 2015 — who worked tirelessly for her family and patients.

“She worked full time. She was working overtime. She went to school full time to become a nurse practitioner, which is so hard,” Akar said.

Akar launched a campaign to raise money for Nikki’s family, who are now facing funeral plans as they should celebrate Nikki’s recent nursing education.

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“It’s terrible, like it’s inevitable that we’re all going to die. But the timing of this is just unfair,” Akar said.

Dishonest to Nikki and the loved ones she leaves behind.

“If you can get vaccinated, if you want to get vaccinated, vaccinate yourself,” Sierra pleaded. “She was loved by a lot of people. And we’re just going to miss her every day.”

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