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Stormont Vail shares COVID-19 patient story

(WRDW)
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 5:48 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Stormont Vail Health is sharing the story of a woman who survived COVID-19.

Stormont Vail Health says its team continues to work hard to take care of patients in its hospital, emergency area and clinics. It said it has demonstrated the team’s adaptability, flexibility and creativity in the challenges it has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. It said realistically it may be facing continued high patient volumes in the coming weeks.

The health network said it wanted to share the story of a grateful patient and how its team came together to help her recover from COVID-19 and support the needs of the region at the same time.

According to Stormont Vail, Karen Elliott had been ill for seven days with COVID-19 when the fatigue and shortness of breath hit her hard. It said she woke up early one morning and measured her blood oxygen level with a pulse oximeter. It said her blood oxygen level registered 78%, while a level of 95% is what is considered normal for a healthy individual.

“I didn’t realize how sick I was until I checked my sat,” said Karen, who had been regularly monitoring herself at home. Many people with COVID-19 have low blood oxygen levels, but not everyone.

Stormont Vail said Elliott convinced herself to go to the emergency room at the Onaga Community Hospital, where she works as an infection control nurse.

“The doctor at Onaga said I really needed a higher level of care and I needed to go to Stormont Vail,” Elliott said.

According to the health network, she was unsure, but the doctor told her it was the right thing to do. It said a chest X-ray did not look good and her oxygen levels were still low after receiving steroids.

Stormont Vail said when there, Elliott began immediate treatment which included Remdesivir and convalescent plasma. It said within 8 - 12 hours, she felt much better and was transferred to a COVID-19 medical floor where she was hospitalized for five days.

“They really took good care of me. The nurses told me what every med was for,” Elliott said. “Those nurses are awesome.”

According to Stormont Vail, Elliott calls the virus “sneaky.” It said before residents know it, they are sicker than they thought possible. It said Elliott says residents should take more precautions to keep themselves and others safe, like wearing facemasks.

“It’s ironic that the infection control nurse got it,” Karen says, noting that she is vigilant about hand hygiene and wearing a mask.  “It’s a wicked virus. People need to be more careful or at least try until we get a vaccine. You do not want to get this.”

Currently, Stormont Vail said it has 158 employees on contact leave and six providers, 111 employees infected with COVID-19 and seven providers and has 193 employee COVID-19 recoveries and 18 provider recoveries.

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