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St. Vincent’s First COVID-19 Patient Visits One Year Later

March 18, 2021

As cases of COVID-19 mounted across the country, the staff at St. Vincent’s Medical Center (SVMC) prepared for their first confirmed positive case, knowing it was just a matter of time; what they were not expecting was a patient like 21-year-old Rodney Davis.

“Our hearts were extra heavy when we discovered Rodney was a 21-year-old young man,” said Vincent’s DiBattista, Hartford HealthCare Fairfield Region President. “We had been told this mysterious virus primarily afflicted an older, more frail population. It’s extraordinary to think about the depth of knowledge we’ve acquired since that time.”

Davis returned to St. Vincent’s Medical Center one year later, to the day, after his March 18, 2020 admission to thank his caregivers. The heartwarming event was streamed live from the Medical Center and you can watch it here:

“Today is a special time for me and my Mom,” he told the employees and caregivers who gathered to welcome him back. “I thank God – and all my angels for taking care of me. You guys saved my life and are saving others too. I’m so blessed to be here and be part of this Hartford HealthCare family.”

Susan Skoog, Nursing Director for Critical Care at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, who played a key role one year ago in Rodney’s treatment and recovery, was eager to express gratitude on behalf of St. Vincent’s staff. “One year ago when you came in it was all hands on deck. Almost two months later we gathered here for your discharge. You got out of the wheelchair and walked, on your own, into your mother’s arms. That will be engrained in our hearts and our minds forever.”

When he was released from the hospital on May 27 last year, Davis said, “I’m a Miracle.” The Venezuela native living in Bridgeport had spent three weeks on a ventilator and underwent a battle that was arduous and inspiring.

At the time, he remembered the dreams – trying to wake up and being unable to – but not much more of his experience, which was largely under sedation as his body fought the virus “We used medications that would paralyze and relax his muscles. The goal was to be sure he was comfortable,” said Skoog. “We learned this coronavirus was something to be reckoned with.”

During his 31-day stay, Davis experienced every level of care possible before being discharged amid great fanfare to an inpatient rehabilitation facility, Skoog explained.

“I was scared to leave the hospital without a walker, but day by day the situation improved,” he said. “They helped me a lot but I was never going to give up. I’m a miracle, to be honest.”

His recovery, Skoog said, is “testament to his resilience and all the healthcare heroes it took to get him back where he belongs.” Those heroes, she added, fought COVID in ways they’d never imagined.

Rodney announced he was recently accepted to Sacred Heart University and plans to pursue his dream – to be part of a nursing team and working side-by-side with his new family.