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Family Of Research Medical Center Nurse Who Died Of COVID-19 Settles Case Against Hospital

051220_yap-banagofamily.jpg_yap-banago family
Yap-Banago family
Celia Yap-Banago with her husband, Amado Bango (left), and two sons, Joshua and Jhulan.

Celia Yap-Banago died on April 21 after caring for a patient who was later diagnosed with COVID-19.

Updated: November 13, 2020 at 1:55 PM CST
This story has been updated to include comments by a spokeswoman for Research Medical Center's parent company.

The family of a registered nurse at Research Medical Center who died after contracting COVID-19 has settled its workers’ compensation claim against the hospital.

Terms of the settlement were confidential, but a lawyer for Celia Yap-Banago’s family said they were pleased with the outcome.

“There was a confidential settlement of the coronavirus workers’ compensation death case, and the case has been resolved to the satisfaction of all the parties,” the lawyer, Brent Welder, said.

Christine Hamele, a spokeswoman for HCA Healthcare, the hospital’s parent company, said, "It is difficult to put into words what Celia meant to our hospital and to the countless number of patients she cared for over the years. Her impact on the nursing profession and to those whom she worked with will be everlasting due to the mentorship, training, support and guidance she provided our colleagues."

Yap-Banago died on April 21 after caring for a patient who was later diagnosed with COVID-19. On the day after her death, a fellow nurse told KCUR that she and Yap-Banago had worked without N95 respiratory masks or other personal protective equipment.

Yap-Banago, who was 69, told colleagues she was planning to retire this year after working as a nurse for nearly four decades.

Her husband and two sons sought death benefits under Missouri’s workers’ compensation law. Under that law, survivors of an employee who dies as a result of a work-related injury are entitled to two-thirds of the employee’s weekly wage.

In this case, her husband, Amado Banago, would be entitled to such benefits for the rest of his life or until he remarries.

Although Missouri enacted an emergency rule in April allowing firefighters, police and other first responders to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are quarantined because of the disease, the rule did not cover hospital workers.

That means hospital workers have to show it is more likely than not that they contracted COVID-19 in connection with their work.

Known as “Chil” to her friends and family, Celia Yap-Banago was the youngest of seven children. She was born in the Philippines and received her nursing degree there.

She died just days short of her 40th anniversary working as a nurse at various hospitals operated by HCA, the largest private operator of hospitals in the United States.

She and her husband had been married for 34 years.

Research Medical Center is a Level I Trauma Center and has been designated a hub for COVID-19 care by HCA, which also operates Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and other hospitals in the Kansas City area.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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