KING COUNTY, Wash. — Kurt Julian, 63, who spent decades working as an ICU nurse, died Friday from COVID-19, according to family and friends.
Julian worked at Evergreen Medical Center in Kirkland and friends say he treated some of the earliest coronavirus patients.
"There's my best friend, on the front lines, in the middle of it. Even now, it takes your breath away. I have had more tears in my eyes since this happened than I have ever had," said Chuck Cavalaris. Cavalaris and Julian met each other in junior high youth group at Arlington Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. The life-long friends stayed close. "He was a natural to go into nursing because he was so caring and compassionate even until what's happened now, he put somebody else's needs first."
He says Julian cared for COVID-19 patients for weeks before he got sick. Evergreen Medical Center is where patients from Life Care Center of Kirkland were transported one after another.
“It’s so ironic someone who’s there one day caring for the most sick people in the world, a few days later he’s right there where they were,” said Cavalaris.
He says Julian and his wife, Kathy, who is an ICU nurse at Virginia Mason, lived in North Bend with their four children.
Cavalaris told KIRO- 7 Julian got sick at the end of April and spent the last month in critical condition. At first, he was treated at Evergreen Medical Center, then he was transported to Harborview Medical Center.
After spending weeks on a ventilator and most recently on a heart-lung machine, he died this morning. His wife was by his side.
“These people who’ve risked their lives on the front line — God bless them,” said Cavalaris, “We’re so proud, we hate what’s happened, but we’re so proud with what he did. The very least people can do in public is wear a mask.”
Kurt Julian is the second local ICU nurse to die from coronavirus in the last two weeks. Aleks Vollman worked in the ICU at Harborview Medical Center, he died last week.