TAMPA, Fla. – Loved ones and the community remember a Tampa flight nurse and nurse practitioner who died before battling COVID-19 before Thanksgiving.
Steven Neher was 49 years old and working as a nurse practitioner at the Falkenburg Road Jail of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office when he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Nehr’s family, also a flight nurse and registered nurse at Tampa General Hospital, say they proudly put their lives at risk every day to treat COVID-19 patients. But on Tuesday, he lost his own life due to the virus.
Steven Neher, Courtesy Family
His death came as a surprise to friends and family who say he was healthy, with no underlying condition, but after a few weeks of battling the virus, his condition quickly worsened.
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“He’s funny and he just makes everyone laugh and welcomes everyone whether he knows you or not,” said Nehru’s aunt, Elizabeth Alsafar.
Nehr’s 10-year partner Christian Riedel says Steven tested positive for COVID-19 back on November 25. A week later, his oxygen levels dropped.
“He was just passionate about healthcare and helping people and saving his life,” Riedel said. “He had oxygen and I slept on the floor right next to him to make sure he would be alright and then in the morning he was trying to find which hospital had the best treatment.”
Nehar was admitted to the hospital on 5 December. Days later, he was placed on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. More than three weeks later, he lost his battle with COVID-19.
Riedel said, “We had no condition. No asthma. There was nothing wrong with us. We are doing workouts. We are still quite young. There is no reason that he should die.”
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Nehar devoted his life to caring for others. Prior to working as a nurse practitioner at Falkenberg Road Jail, she was a nurse at TGH and spent several years as a flight nurse, where she taught courses to other nurses in training.
When he was not working, Riedel says Neher was touching the lives of many of his friends and family members.
“It’s unbelievable how many people loved her and she’s just gone soon,” Riedel said.
Riedel says that he and Neher took all precautions, wore masks, and stayed away socially. They believe he may have contracted the virus while working in prison.
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