Healthcare Workers Cheer On Patients Being Released From Hospitals After Recovering From COVID-19

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- There have been many scenes of people applauding healthcare workers.  Now, they’re turning the tables, applauding COVID-19 patients as they’re released from hospitals.  

Advocate Healthcare took WBBM Newsradio inside the corridors of area hospitals, by sharing cell phone video. On Tuesday, staff members at various hospitals lined hallways giving high-fives, clapping, and cheering as several COVID-19 patients were released from hospitals across Illinois and Wisconsin, having beaten the virus. 

The patients include 69-year-old Paul Richards, a retired Chicago firefighter and Vietnam veteran, who was released from Advocate Trinity Hospital.

Richards survived on the ventilator for two weeks, Advocate said, until he was excavated this past weekend. He recovered in one of the hospital’s COVID-19 units until his discharge. Richards said he is grateful for the care he received at Advocate Trinity.  

“It was like being in Vietnam. Everyone responded with no hesitation. Everyone stepped up to do what they had to do and put their lives on the line to care for me,” Richards said.

When he was being released, he said he was going this way, while pointing at the door, rather than that way, while pointing at the floor.

Another patient was Carmen Benabe, 86, who was brought to the emergency room as soon as she had trouble breathing. Given her age and underlying medical conditions against the backdrop of the pandemic, the family was "more vigilant than ever about ensuring Carmen’s health and safety," Advocate said in a statement. "So when they brought her to the emergency room at Advocate Illinois Masonic on Good Friday, they were heartbroken by the news: Carmen was diagnosed with COVID-19 and had to be admitted right away."

Benabe’s family waited on pins and needles, hoping and praying for a speedy recovery. Benabe’s daughter, Dalia Colon, said the days were long and scary as she and her family waited for good news.

That good news finally came Tuesday. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of clinicians at Advocate Illinois Masonic, four days after her admission, Benabe is well on her way to recovery and is being discharged home for self-quarantine, Advocate said.

Colon said her mom’s discharge is nothing short of a miracle, and the family is thankful that she’s still here.

Benabe is looking forward to reuniting with family, recovering in the comfort of her home with them nearby, and enjoying home-cooked Puerto Rican meals.

Advocate said it was celebrating that fact that is surpassed 1,000 COVID-19 patients being released, and counting.

“This milestone is an important reminder of the excellent care our team provides and the hard work, commitment and focus it’s taken to reach this point,” said Dr. Gary Stuck, chief medical officer of Advocate Aurora Health, in a statement. “We’re so proud of how our doctors, nurses and team members have risen to meet this historic challenge, and we’re grateful for their service and sacrifice. But the work isn’t over, and the public must continue to do their part by practicing social distancing and staying home as much as possible. There will be more milestones to come, both happy and tragic. And our actions now will determine how much celebrating or grieving we do later. We’re all in this together.”