Against All Odds: COVID-19 Patient Conquers Virus

Published on April 06, 2021

covid patient

Against All Odds: COVID-19 Patient Conquers Virus

Last April, 53-year-old Gladis Sanchez woke up and wasn’t herself. She had a cough and was feeling feverish. Her body ached all over. By that night, her cough was uncontrollable

Her daughter and husband urged her to go to the nearest hospital, Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19. When she arrived, she never imagined she would spend the next five months fighting for her life.

After a few days, her condition worsened. Gladis was moved to the Intensive Care Unit, where a ventilator helped her breathe for the next eight weeks.

“Many people who are on a ventilator for that long generally aren’t able to recover,” said Andrew Catanzaro, MD, infectious disease specialist at Adventist HealthCare.

However, Gladis kept fighting and she conquered every challenge that came her way. Over time, she was able to breathe without a ventilator. She continued to improve and regain her strength over the next three months with the help of nurses and respiratory, physical, occupational and speech therapists.


“Her care team always kept me updated and were so responsive to our questions,” explained her sister, Mercedes. “Even when Gladis was on a ventilator and couldn’t talk to us, her nurses would hold a phone so we could tell her how much we loved her, and she could hear our voices.”

After overcoming the worst of COVID-19 and spending five months in the hospital, she returned home. Her medical team celebrated with Gladis, clapping and cheering as she left.

“Hearing those cheers felt so good,” Gladis said. “I couldn’t believe I was finally going home to my family.”

Gladis continued her recovery from the comfort of her home with Adventist HealthCare Home Health, which provided her with physical and occupational therapy, as well as nursing care.

Today, she is grateful to be alive and cherishes the time she spends with family as she regains her health.

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