St. Luke's doctor explains Samantha Hickey's death

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Posted at 11:55 AM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 14:17:35-04

A St. Luke's doctor read over the medical charts of St. Luke's nurse practitioner, Samantha Hickey, who died of COVID-19 complications, and released a statement explaining her death.

Hickey provided care to children in the Canyon County area for 15 years, and worked with St. Luke's for five years.

Dr. Nathan Green of St. Luke's health system stated that Hickey died from cardiac shock due to COVID-19 myocarditis and that she was an otherwise healthy 45-year-old before becoming infected.

You can read the full statement from Dr. Green below.

"I am the Medical Director of Heart & Vascular Services for St. Luke’s Health System. Over the last four months, my team of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons, and highly specialized cardiovascular staff have cared for many critically ill patients with COVID-19. Earlier in July, my team cared for one of our own, St. Luke’s nurse practitioner Samantha Hickey. Despite heroic efforts to save her life, she died from COVID-19.

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Hickey family who have provided consent to publicly share details about her health. Last week, misinformation about Samantha was circulated via social media. She deserves to have accurate information about her death be shared, so that her death cannot be politicized.

SARS-CoV-2, or the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, is a new virus that we still know very little about. Not only can the virus cause severe pneumonia and lung failure, but it can also cause unique cardiovascular injury. In some patients with COVID-19, the stress from the infection and inflammation causes small heart attacks that can be identified through blood tests. In other patients and for reasons that we don’t understand yet, COVID-19 causes clotting within the blood vessels that can result in heart attacks and strokes.

In addition, the virus can directly attack the heart muscle itself and cause a disease called viral myocarditis. Myocarditis can happen to anyone of any age and it is unpredictable who will become severely ill. Sometimes, the virus causes so much damage to the heart muscle that patients die from rhythm abnormalities or shock because their heart can no longer function.

Sadly, Samantha Hickey died from cardiac shock due to COVID-19 myocarditis. She was an otherwise healthy 45-year-old before becoming infected.

COVID-19 is a dangerous disease, even to those who are healthy. We are seeing significant growth in Idaho, and especially in Ada and Canyon counties. My hope is that we’re not too far down this path of rapid growth and that Samantha Hickey will be the last one to die from COVID-19 myocarditis in Idaho. Simple things like wearing a face covering, washing your hands, and watching your distance can interrupt transmission, but only if we’re all in this together."

Nathan E Green, MD, FACC