The Brooklyn teacher was told she was likely just having a ‘panic attack’ and was denied testing
A much-loved 30-year-old middle school teacher has died of COVID-19 after battling the virus for a month. She was initially turned away twice for testing before eventually being diagnosed with the virus. A first-responder told the New York City teacher she was likely experiencing a “panic attack” before denying her a test on two separate occasions.
Rana Zoe Mungin was a social studies teacher at Ascend Academy in Brooklyn who contracted COVID-19 in mid-March. Mungin’s family tells ABC News that she had two preexisting conditions: asthma and hypertension. These conditions put her at high risk of developing a severe case of the virus should she contract it. She initially sought treatment when the illness gave her a fever and shortness of breath.
Unfortunately, she was turned away from her local emergency room twice, with one paramedic telling her she believed Mungin was having a “panic attack” despite the fact that Mungin told him several times she couldn’t breathe. Her sister, Mia, tells PIX11 she tried to get her sister the best treatment possible.
Mungin was finally admitted to Brookdale Hospital on March 20, almost a full week after her first attempt to get treatment and tested for coronavirus. When she was admitted, she was having severe trouble breathing and was immediately intubated and put on a ventilator.
Mia Mungin, Zoe’s sister, is currently a registered nurse in New York City. She shared her sister’s medical journey on social media for over a month. “It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you all that my sister Rana Zoe has passed away today at 12:25 p.m. due to COVID-19 complications,” she tweeted on Monday.
“Zoe, I am so sorry this happened to you, this really happened. Racism and health disparities… still continues at this day and age,” she wrote. “The zip code in which we live in still predetermines the type of care we receive.”
CDC recently released data showing that African Americans are being severely impacted by COVID-19 nationwide, accounting for 30% of coronavirus cases in the U.S. despite only comprising approximately 13% of the population.
Mungin was a first-generation college student with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wellesley College, and a Master of Fine Arts from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in Creative Writing.
Zungin’s friend, Nohemi Maciel, echoes the need to highlight racial discrimination in healthcare to ABC. “She died not only because of COVID-19, but because we live in a world that is racist and anti-black,” Maciel says. “We know that black people are dying at disproportionate rates. This cannot be left out of the conversation. I’m heartbroken and don’t know how to live in a world without Zoe. But I’m also angry. I’m angry that her students lost a wonderful and committed teacher, because representation matters.”