Devastation of one day

Caption
Janie Lozano McGhin, a Valdosta nurse practitioner, died due to COVID-19 in January 2021. Here is how family members describe the loss. Video by Hyosub Shin

Valdosta hospital loses nurse, six others in grueling 24 hours

Janie Lozano McGhin spent a lifetime taking care of others. The daughter of Mexican immigrants to Texas, she grew up having to share a bed with two sisters while her brothers slept on the floor. Their father put food on the table by herding livestock and shearing sheep.

In the ninth grade, she dropped out of school to work and help her family. She rode a bus an hour each way to work in a tuberculosis clinic. She was able to earn certification as a licensed practical nurse before a high school certificate was required.

After marrying a Georgian stationed at a Texas military base, she eventually moved to Valdosta, where she worked as a nurse at three hospitals while going to school and raising her children.

ExploreReturn to the COVID timeline: A year of loss

Later, she taught health care occupations at Valdosta High School from 1988 to 1993, taught nursing at a college from 1993 to 2000 and taught health care technology at Lowndes High School from 2000 to 2011. In 2016, she opened her own clinic and was a beloved and respected nurse practitioner.

She died on Jan. 15, the pandemic’s peak day in Georgia, along with at least six others at South Georgia Medical Center, ages 40 to 86. The toll was among the highest in the state for a hospital that day.

Caption
Janie McGhin, the daughter of Mexican immigrants to Texas, worked as a nurse at three hospitals while going to school and raising her children. After working for decades as an educator, she opened her own clinic in 2016 and continued to be a beloved and respected nurse practitioner.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Janie McGhin, the daughter of Mexican immigrants to Texas, worked as a nurse at three hospitals while going to school and raising her children. After working for decades as an educator, she opened her own clinic in 2016 and continued to be a beloved and respected nurse practitioner.
Caption
Janie McGhin, the daughter of Mexican immigrants to Texas, worked as a nurse at three hospitals while going to school and raising her children. After working for decades as an educator, she opened her own clinic in 2016 and continued to be a beloved and respected nurse practitioner.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

In her final weeks of life, McGhin was separated from her family. For a time, they could wave at her in the ICU from behind a plastic shield.

Today, a bright red bow is pinned to the door of the family’s educational supply store.

“It’s for my mother,” Amanda McGhin Sanderson tells customers.

“I want you to know she passed away of COVID-19, that something took her away from me that shouldn’t have taken her away from me.

ExploreReturn to the COVID timeline: A year of loss

“I want them to know that this is real. This isn’t something made up on TV. This isn’t something political.

“This is my Mom, who was pretty much dying for six weeks and I didn’t get to see her. I didn’t get to hold her hand. I didn’t get to comfort her. All that was taken from me.”

McGhin’s husband, Robin, said she had been hospitalized Dec. 13 and struggled for weeks to breathe. “She’s putting up a heck of a fight, you know. But it just lasted so long.”

McGhin was 70.

Caption
Janie and Robin McGhin, who was from Georgia, met when Robin was stationed at a Texas military base. The couple later moved to Valdosta. In the final weeks of her life, Janie McGhin was separated from her family, who could only wave to her in the ICU from behind a plastic shield.(Contributed)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Janie and Robin McGhin, who was from Georgia, met when Robin was stationed at a Texas military base. The couple later moved to Valdosta. In the final weeks of her life, Janie McGhin was separated from her family, who could only wave to her in the ICU from behind a plastic shield.(Contributed)
Caption
Janie and Robin McGhin, who was from Georgia, met when Robin was stationed at a Texas military base. The couple later moved to Valdosta. In the final weeks of her life, Janie McGhin was separated from her family, who could only wave to her in the ICU from behind a plastic shield.(Contributed)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

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