Kaiser Health News and Guardian US Partner to Honor American Health Care Workers Lost on the Frontline of the COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF’s Kaiser Health News (KHN) and Guardian US today launched Lost on the Frontline, a special project aiming to document the life of every health care worker in America who dies from COVID-19 during the pandemic. This includes medical professionals like doctors, nurses and paramedics, and others working at hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities, including aides, administrative employees and cleaning and maintenance staff.

Lost on the Frontline, a digital memorial, will initially launch on both the Guardian and KHN websites, but the series ultimately will grow into a single interactive site to memorialize the workers. The resulting nationwide resource—the first of its kind— will allow journalists at KHN and the Guardian to identify patterns in how the pandemic impacts health care workers, shedding light on the workings and failings of the U.S. health care system. Dozens of health care workers have already died in the pandemic and that number is expected to climb significantly.

The series launched with a profile of Frank Gabrin, America’s first ER doctor to die on the frontline of the coronavirus battle, as well as profiles of a jail nurse in New Jersey, a surgeon in New York City, a veterans affairs nurse in Detroit, nurses at hospitals in California and Nevada, and a custodian at a hospital in New York state.

Information about health care workers will be crowdsourced from family, friends and colleagues of fallen health care workers, as well as reported through traditional means. The series will feature profiles, photos and other information about those who have lost their lives since the outbreak began.

KHN and The Guardian are inviting news organizations across the country to partner in the effort. The project will link to local news stories on health care worker deaths, and all content from the series will be available free to other news organizations to republish. The project will reflect the rich diversity of the U.S. health care workforce. The lead partners will translate selected stories into multiple languages and make them available for publication by ethnic media outlets to ensure they reach the many communities in America affected by the pandemic.

Elisabeth Rosenthal, Editor-in-Chief of KHN, said:

“With the help of their families and friends, we want to tell the stories of health care workers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the COVID-19 pandemic: dying from the virus, too often after providing care without adequate equipment or protection. And in doing so, we hope to hold to account an American health care system that failed them.”

John Mulholland, editor of Guardian US said:

“From doctors to hospital cleaners and from nursing home aides to paramedics, this project will capture the diverse range of frontline health workers risking their lives to help others in this fight. A shortage of tests and protective gear is increasing the dangers they face—and some will die trying to save others.  We want to celebrate those lives and their heroism, as well as scrutinise the conditions leading to so many tragic outcomes.”

KHN and the Guardian are calling for family members, friends and colleagues of health workers to share information, photos and stories about their loved ones and co-workers who died on the frontlines via this form. If you have a colleague or loved one we should include, you can also email frontline@theguardian.com or covidtips@kff.org.

Because of the scope of the project, and the many categories of workers included, this resource may never be completely comprehensive. It will function as a work in progress – and build over time.

About The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Kaiser Health News

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, KFF (the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation) is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.  KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF and is the nation’s leading and largest health and health policy newsroom, producing stories that run on khn.org and are published by hundreds of news organizations across the country.

About Guardian News & Media

Guardian US is renowned for its Pulitzer prize-winning investigation into widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, and for other award-winning work including the Paradise Papers. Guardian US has bureaus in New York, Washington DC, Oakland and New Orleans, covering the climate crisis, politics, race and immigration, gender, national security and more.

Guardian News & Media (GNM), publisher of theguardian.com, is one of the largest English-speaking newspaper websites in the world. Since launching its US and Australia digital editions in 2011 and 2013 respectively, traffic from outside of the UK now represents over two-thirds of The Guardian’s total digital audience.

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