In Sickness and In Health
Couple Recovers From COVID-19 With the Help of Kind Nurses and State-of-the-Art Intensive Care Unit.
Anthony Shorts of White Plains, Maryland, had settled nicely into his quarantine schedule. The 63-year-old worked one night on and two nights off for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The abbreviated schedule allowed him to care for Sophia, his wife of 30 years, as she recuperated from foot surgery.
“While home recovering, my wife started having serious trouble breathing,” Anthony said. Like many others, he was aware of the common symptoms associated with COVID-19. He and Sophia quickly headed to the nearest emergency department, at Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center. “When we arrived, I knew there was a strong chance that my wife would be admitted into the hospital.”
Anthony’s intuition was right. His wife was initially diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs and admitted as a patient under investigation for COVID-19. When test results came back positive, waiting turned into worrying.
A few days later, Anthony was also diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted into Fort Washington Medical Center suffering from pneumonia. He smilingly said the silver lining was that he had the best roommate possible, his wife.
Eventually, Sophia improved enough to go home. Anthony was alone when the doctors told him his condition had worsened and he would be moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Anthony had never been in the hospital, so he was worried when he heard “ICU.” He received a warm welcome from the nurses in his private room, in a new ICU wing for COVID-19 and other critically ill patients.
The state-of-the-art modular unit, known as a STAAT Mod, was installed at Fort Washington Medical Center in April. The STAAT Mod, short for Strategic, Temporary, Acuity-Adaptable Treatment Modular Unit, took three weeks to assemble and was the first of its kind in the nation. Rooms in the modular unit are engineered with sophisticated safety features like traditional critical-care hospital rooms, including the ability to isolate airflow to protect patients and employees from airborne illnesses like COVID-19.
Today, Anthony is back at home with his wife recovering. He looks forward to returning to his job, spending time with his five children and virtually reconnecting with his church congregation. He is grateful his community hospital had a state-of-the-art space ready when he needed it.
“The nurses were very reassuring, they kept telling me I would be fine,” Anthony said. “Their positive attitudes really helped keep my spirits up.”