Remembrance Tree Planted for Respiratory Therapist Lost to COVID-19

A respiratory therapist who colleagues said will always be remembered for her compassion was honored with a tree-planting ceremony Friday at Medical City Dallas.

Maisha Oni Muhammad-Brinkley’s colleagues at the hospital honored her life with a remembrance tree outside the emergency department, where she worked.

Muhammad-Brinkley, affectionately called “The Breathing Lady” by some of her patients, passed away on Nov. 18, 2020, after a long battle with COVID-19. She served as a registered respiratory therapist at Medical City Dallas for more than eight years in the respiratory care and emergency departments. She was fiercely devoted to her husband, four children, and to her patients.

“Maisha’s positive attitude, willingness to serve, and caring spirit made a difference in the lives of her patients and colleagues,” says Chris Mowan, CEO of Medical City Dallas. “She will always be remembered for her compassion, commitment to excellence and as a great mentor who trained many respiratory therapists within Medical City Healthcare and across North Texas.”

The ceremony was attended by hospital leadership, her colleagues, her husband, three daughters, brother, and mother and in accordance with hospital masking guidelines. It began with a special prayer followed by the dedication of the tree near the main entrance to the emergency department. The Japanese maple tree was chosen because it is associated with peace, serenity, and magnificence. 

A permanent remembrance plaque that reads, “On angels wings you were taken away, but in our hearts you will always stay,” was placed at the tree’s base by her husband.

“She took care of a lot of homeless people in the area who said, ‘That’s my friend. That’s the breathing lady,’” her husband, Reginald Brinkley, said. “She was an amazing and positive person who breathed life into patients, our family, and our loved ones in countless wonderful ways.”

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