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Schumer, drug company go to bat for COVID-19 teacher

Posted: 2:21 PM, Mar 26, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-26 18:41:14-04
Rana Mungin
Schumer letter

BROOKLYN — A ray of hope for critically ill Brooklyn schoolteacher Rana Mungin Thursday, when Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote a letter to the FDA, advocating that Mungin he accepted into a clinical trial for a promising drug, Remdesivir.

A representative for the company that produces Remdesivir also contacted Mungin’s sister, telling her they’re trying to get the teacher, a graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Massachusetts, transferred to Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Mt. Sinai has one piece of specialized equipment to treat patients with severe lung infection that’s not available at Brookdale Hospital.

The PIX11 story about Rana Mungin’s plight was retweeted hundreds of times and shared on Facebook more than 1,200 times.

“I’m so grateful and so humbled,” Mia Mungin, Rana’s sister, told PIX11 News Thursday. “I was running into so many doors.”

Mungin’s family was cautioned, though, that she needs to be stabilized before she’s moved.

Mungin, a 30-year-old social studies teacher at Ascend Academy in Brooklyn, had an 8-day odyssey from her first fever to intubation with a ventilator pipe, with one ambulance attendant suggesting the woman was having a “panic attack.”

Along the way, doctors treated Mungin for asthma, but didn’t give her a COVID-19 test until she returned to the hospital via ambulance a third time, barely breathing.

Mungin, a graduate of Wellesley College with a Master’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts, has always advocated for self-empowerment, but now her sister has to be her voice.

Mia Mungin works as an administrator for other nurses in home health care.

She remembers that a member of her staff “was in the emergency room March 8th and she said she had a fever March 9th. She wasn’t feeling well."

Mia Mungin said she herself didn’t feel well March 9 and developed a fever March 10.

She lives in the same East New York home as her sister and said Rana started running a fever on Thursday, March 12.

The teacher paid her first visit to Brookdale Hospital on March 15, and that’s when she received Albuterol and the medicine for her headache.

The hospital didn’t give Mungin a test for COVID19, and she went home. The shortness of breath continued.

“She still was having shortness of breath, the 16th, 17th, and 18th," Mia Mungin. "My mother asked her if she wanted to go back to the hospital and she said, ‘No.’”

On March 19, Mia Mungin insisted an ambulance be called, and the paramedics gave her sister a nebulizer treatment, she said. Mungin said one of the attendants kept saying her sister’s lungs were clear.

“He insinuated she was having a panic attack. She kept saying ‘I can’t breathe,” Mia Mungin recalled.

When they got to the hospital on this second visit, Mia Mungin said a doctor told the family “Her lungs are clear. We’re not going to test for corona, because we don’t have enough tests.”

Rana Mungin went home March 19 “and she couldn’t get up the stairs," her sister said. "I watched her all night.”

By Friday afternoon, March 20, “she wasn’t breathing,” Mia Mungin said.

Rana Mungin was taken again by ambulance to Brookdale Hospital and, this time, family wasn’t allowed in

Three hours later, “that’s when I was told she was intubated and on a ventilator.”

The doctors started the teacher on one experimental treatment for the virus, a mixture of anti-viral Hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic Erythromycin. She remains in Brookdale Hospital