By Steve Angeles, ABS CBN North America Bureau
May 8, 2013
Fresno, Calif – It’s national nurse’s week. And for the boss of Neriza Fojas and Michelle Estrera, two Fresno nurses who died in the
Northern Califonia limousine fire over the weekend, this week has a new meaning, as the community copes with the tragedy.
“Sadly this is nursing week when we honor our nurses for their deep commitment to healing others and saving lives. During this week our community regional family will also honor the lives and memories of Neriza and Michelle,” said Karen Buckley, the chief nursing officer of the Community Regional Medical Center
Buckley said the two Community Regional Medical Center trauma nurses were highly regarded, and helped train other nurses. Both nurses were friends that came from Oakland: Estrera moved to Fresno 4 years ago and Fojas followed a year later.
“Very skilled and very detail oriented so we were really excited when they came. They sort of followed each other,” recalled Buckley.
The hospital has been closed off to media as staffers cope with the loss of two beloved coworkers. Counselors have been available for the staff, especially to those close to the bride-to-be Fojas.
“There were a lot more nurses who had wanted to go to the bridal shower but we weren’t able to let them all go because we still had patients they needed to take care of so there were some nurses that weren’t able to go. It’s kind of that survivor guilt. We’re working through some of that,” she said.
Joyce Hopper who manages the Angry Asian Food and Retail spoke to Estrera, who was her regular customer, just days before her death regarding the travel arrangements to the Philippines, where Fojas was planning to get married.
“Actually her face still registers in my mind right now and its really so sudden,” Hopper said.
While no one answered at the Fresno home of Estrera, CNN has reported that the family of Fojas had moved her belongings including her dog out of her Fresno apartment on Monday.
In the meantime, the Philippine consulate in San Francisco has been in contact with the families of the nine victims involved in the deadly crash. They are monitoring the progress of 4 survivors as well as the investigation that led to a total of 5 deaths.