NAMPA, Idaho — Just last week, St. Luke’s confirmed the death of Samatha Hickey. Hickey was a nurse practitioner with St. Luke’s Children’s team in Nampa. She spent 13 years providing care to children in the Canyon County area and five years with the hospital.
The 45-year-old died from complications from COVID-19, according to St. Luke’s spokesperson, Anita Kissée.
As news of her death broke out across the state, a Nampa resident posted on Facebook:
“Watching the news this morning they were talking about the Idaho nurse who ‘died of COVID’ not one word about the FACT she died of a heart attack. Even the Idaho Statesman eludes that it was the heart attack that killed her. Yet even they are trying to use her death to scare us. Read the whole article. The mainstream news both local & national is nothing but lies! ”
The user then attaches a link to the article referenced. What caught the eye of Idahoans was not the person responsible for the post-- it was who re-posted it; Idaho Representative, Tammy Nichols.
Rep. Nichols re-posted the Facebook status on her private page and published this comment:
St. Luke's spokesperson released a statement in regards to this post and it's implications saying, “To state or imply a death from complications of COVID-19 is a hoax is cruel, offensive and crosses a line of decency. Conspiracy theories like this are insulting and hurtful to grieving loved ones, heartbroken colleagues, and the health care workers who did everything they could to try and save her life. Samantha Hickey is a hero who risked her own health to care for children in our community and she and her family deserve kindness, compassion and respect.”
Dr. David Pate St. Luke’s former President and CEO took to Twitter also responding to Rep. Nichols social media activity saying in a series of tweets:
1/4 If this is true, this is outrageous and absolutely cruel towards the family of our beloved employee. First of all, the article clearly states that her cardiac issues were a complication of COVID. Secondly, the family’s one wish was that Samantha Hickey’s death not be in vain…
2/4 They asked that in her memory, people take COVID seriously & wear masks. To then dishonor this loving family, our employee, and someone who risked her life to care for others by suggesting or stating that COVID is a hoax is detestable, offensive, insensitive, outrageous,
3/4 irresponsible, and just absolutely mean-spirited. If this is true (I don’t use Facebook), then Rep. Nichols you owe this family an apology for the affront to Samantha’s memory and your constituents an apology for inappropriate comments, poor leadership and disrespect of a fellow
Idaho News 6 reached out to Rep. Nichols and Dr. David Pate. Hear more of their reactions tonight at 10.