Tennessee family, hospital celebrate as last COVID-19 patient gets released after 53-day fight

Tennessee family, hospital celebrate as last COVID-19 patient gets released after 53-day fight

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Isaiah Whalum, 46, said there are some parts of his hospitalization that he remembers and some he doesn't as he fought COVID-19 for 53 days.

However, he said he'd never forget the care he received from his medical team at Williamson Medical Center near Nashville, Tennessee, during those days.

"One nurse would come into my room hold my hand and play music for me," Whalum said. "They took care of me like I was their family.

"I didn't realize how sick I was."

He said he was a little hazy about how long he had been in the hospital until he saw it written on a sign in the long procession line, congratulating him on his release from the hospital on Tuesday.

Dozens of nurses and doctors lined the walkway at the main entrance of the hospital cheering, clapping and cheering as Whalum finally joined his family.

"When I brought him in, I thought it would only be a few days before he was released, and I could see him," his wife, India Scruggs, said.

However, Scruggs and the couple's children — Isabella, 5, and Justin, 11 — wouldn't see Whalum for another 43 days due to hospital visitation and health restrictions when he was in the COVID-19 unit.

"It's like Christmas," Whalum said when he finally saw the light of day outside the hospital, surrounded by his family, friends and medical team.

They were cheering him on with each step he took to the family's car.

Williamson Medical Center critical care nurses hug India Scruggs, center, after Scruggs' partner Isaiah Whalum was released from the Franklin hospital on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 after recovering from COVID-19. Williamson Medical Center doctors and nurses celebrated Whalum's release.  Whalum had been a patient for 53 days.

Last COVID-19 patient at Williamson Medical Center

Whalum is the last confirmed COVID-19 patient, now recovered, to be released out of 36 who were hospitalized at Williamson Medical Center during the coronavirus pandemic.

James Chappell, a registered nurse who served on the team caring for Whalum, called him "a fighter."

"You are family now," Chappell said as he hugged Whalum.

Katherine Mincey, also an RN, agreed and attributed Whalum's recovery to his "determination and stubbornness to push through" and the strong support of his family.

"He has a wonderful support system. We talked to his family every day, and we feel like they are our family, too," Mincey said.

Pulmonologist Dr. Tufik Assad said seeing Whalum leave the hospital was "an amazing feeling" because, as far as COVID-19 cases go, he was "the worst of the worst."

"It's hard to describe," Assad said.

"Isaiah was part of the first wave of cases in this pandemic. It's impacted so many, and you get invested in people's lives emotionally and there's nothing that can take away from that connection."

Scruggs, who also contracted COVID-19 but had relatively mild symptoms, hugged each nurse and doctor before she pulled off to finally take Whalum home.

Williamson Medical Center doctors and nurses celebrate the release of Isaiah Whalum, who recovered COVID-19,  on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at the Franklin hospital.  Whalum had been a patient for more than 50 days.  Critical care nurse James Chappell high-fived Whalum as he left the hospital.

"It's so exciting. It's been a long road traveled with a lot of tears. I'm thankful," she said. "The nurses and doctors are so amazing. They called me every day to check on my symptoms and to give me updates. They took care of us."

Whalum said the experience has been a journey.

"My family and friends and God got me through," he said. "I can't wait to get back to my life."

He also offered advice to the public: "Do what people tell you to do. It's serious."

Follow reporter Kerri Bartlett on Twitter: @keb1414

US coronavirus curve may be flattening, but estimated death toll keeps rising:What does this mean?

'Unrivaled?':Fact-checking Donald Trump's claims about COVID-19 testing

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/13/tennessee-coronavirus-patient-gets-celebration-upon-hospital-release/5182179002/

News Related


Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »