Hospital rallies around memory of murder victim
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com April 29, 2014 7:30PM
Updated: June 1, 2014 6:30AM
The death of Nina Castro has devastated her friends and family, but her colleagues at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago are hoping to honor her memory through several initiatives.
On April 21, Castro was shot to death in the parking lot of St. Mary School in Griffith — while picking up her two teenage children — by her estranged husband, Remanard. He fled to Gary, where he shot himself when cornered by police in his garage.
Nina Castro worked as a registered nurse and case manager at St. Catherine Hospital since 2008.
Chief Nursing Officer Paula Swenson said the staff felt called to raise money for the education of Castro’s children and sponsor events and training to raise awareness of domestic violence.
“She just adored those kids, and it was her mission to support their education,” Swenson said.
People may donate to the trust fund by making checks payable to Nina Castro Memorial — Children Education Trust Fund. Donations are being accepted at Nursing Administration at St. Catherine Hospital, 4321 Fir St., East Chicago, or at www.gofundme.com/8m4z5w. Swenson said donations will likely be accepted at a local bank soon as well.
Co-worker Grace Carter said Nina Castro was proud of her children, Kennedy and Kenneth.
“She always talked about her children and how well she was doing,” said Carter, who is a patient care technician. “We didn’t call each other friend; we said ‘sister.’ Everybody loved Nina, and you would never think something was wrong.”
Next week, the hospital will honor Nina Castro during Nurses’ Week. Swenson said the hospital typically conducts a gift basket raffle to donate to Carmelite and Nazareth Home, but this year proceeds will go to the education trust fund. Nurses and staff will also remember their colleague by wearing purple ribbons and bracelets — the color that represents domestic violence awareness.
In addition, hospital staff will hold a memorial service for Nina Castro next week.
Carter said her friend was dedicated to her patients.
“She was concerned about every patient she had and made sure they had after care, transportation to and from the doctor, made sure their medications were correct,” Carter said. “That was the part she loved the most — interacting with families. She was real about everything, telling them about their options.
“I miss her dearly.”
The hospital is also considering several domestic violence awareness events in June to raise funds for local shelters and help staff recognize the signs of domestic violence.
“We’ve been in contact with a couple of local shelters,” Swenson said. “Domestic Violence Awareness Month is in October, but we need do something earlier. Particularly, we really want to focus on how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and how to get assistance. We want to provide education to our medical staff, both as practitioners and as potential victims.”
Swenson said it’s been tough for the staff to make sense of Castro’s death.
“We feel very strongly that something good has to come out of this,” Swenson said. “She’s not first employee we’ve lost to domestic violence, but we hope she’s the last.”