COVID-19 Resources

76 Year Old Survives COVID-19

May. 2, 2020

Seventy-six-year-old COVID-19 patient returns home after 45 days at West Chester Hospital.

Gary Campbell, 76, is a healthy, active senior. In Feb. 2020, Gary and his wife, Linda, their two daughters and families, were in Costa Rica, hiking the mountains and exploring the 95-degree tropical rainforests. The family returned home to Cincinnati following their memorable trip.

On March 17, 2020, Tammy Potts, one of Gary’s daughters and a nurse, received a call from her father stating that he was not feeling well. In fact, he told her it was the worst he had ever felt in his life. She advised him to go to the Emergency Department at UC Health’s West Chester Hospital right away.

Gary was tested for COVID-19 when he arrived, and it was positive. He was admitted that day and soon was placed on a ventilator in the intensive care unit (ICU).

With COVID-19 visitor restrictions at the hospital in place, Gary’s family was not able to see him in person, which was very difficult. Gary’s health status was delicate. Things were so uncertain that at one point, his wife and daughters had the heartbreaking task of FaceTiming with him so they could say goodbye, as he was not expected to survive the disease.

Amazingly, Gary fought back and his health began to improve. He was taken off a ventilator and was moved from the ICU to a medical-surgical floor. Tammy especially remembers the call she received on Easter Sunday from Daniel M. Tanase, MD, UC Health pulmonology and critical care specialist and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

“He told me, ‘your dad is going to be OK.’ I’ll remember that day forever,” Tammy said.

Gary’s good health no doubt helped his recovery, but the road back was long and bumpy. Under the care of many physicians, nurses, and other patient care staff, he remained in the ICU for 31 days, 25 of those days on a ventilator.

Gary was discharged from West Chester Hospital on April 29, 2020, after 45 days battling COVID-19. As he was wheeled out, clinicians and staff lined the hallway, clapping and cheering to wish him well in his continued recovery at home. Outside of the hospital entrance, Gary was welcomed by fanfare from more than 30 family members who had come in a 14-car caravan to show their support and love.

“UC Health and West Chester Hospital have amazing staff who took great care of my dad and have been so kind,” said Tammy. “Since we were not able to visit my dad in the hospital and meet the staff, we just wanted to be able to look them in the eye and say thank you for saving our father.”