Mandy Powell, Don Gilmer, Carolyn Harris and Denice Harris are all COVID-19 survivors and, according to Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, some spent weeks on ventilators and months at St. Francis Downtown fighting for their lives.
But they didn’t fight alone. A team of respiratory therapists fought alongside them.
Now that they’re feeling better, the four survivors surprised their former caregivers with an in-person visit the week of Memorial Day at the hospital. There, they shared their experiences and expressed — sometimes through tears — their gratitude.
Doctors initially told Denice Harris she had the flu in early March 2020. A week later, she was unable to breathe, she said.
She spent seven days at Bon Secours Downtown after her COVID diagnosis.
“It was a scary time for all of us. Thank you for each and every one of you, because without you guys we wouldn’t be here, none of us,” Harris told the staff members.
“How do you thank people who saved your life? I haven’t figured that out yet, but I’m still trying,” former patient Don Gilmer told the team. “Thank you for putting our lives before your own.”
Jackie Crenshaw, respiratory therapist, exchanged hugs and smiles with some of her former patients and said hearing their stories made a deep impact.
“It was phenomenal – just to see patients that we helped care for, that we fought so hard to save be able to walk into the room – just to see a smile on their face. To know they overcame COVID is awesome,” she said.