COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Patient Returns Home after 38 Days

May. 8, 2020

Battling lymphoma, Ron Sikkema, 55, came to UC Health’s West Chester Hospital suspecting he had COVID-19. After a positive test result, he was quickly placed on a ventilator in the intensive care unit (ICU).

His condition deteriorated so quickly that he was moved to the intensive care unit (ICU). Doctors immediately intubated him and placed him on a ventilator to open up his airway, administer oxygen, and help him breathe.

Despite the fast decline of his lung function and delicate condition, Ron was able to turn the corner, and his condition slowly improved. He transitioned to the ICU Stepdown Unit where he observed his 55th birthday. The nurses who were caring for him could see how celebrating without his family was affecting him. “It was sad to think that no one would be visiting him after 30-plus days being away from family and friends, however, the mood quickly changed,” stated Kate Welling, RN, UC Health clinical coordinator. “Ron’s wife called the unit in the morning and asked if it would be OK to have Ron walk to his hospital room window for a surprise. At 12:10 p.m. that day, nurses gathered in the empty adjacent room to look for the surprise. What we saw was overwhelming.”

At 12:15 p.m., Ron walked to his window, where he was surprised to see 33 of his coworkers from Procter & Gamble cheering him on and holding signs of encouragement. Brought to tears by the unexpected celebration, he said, “This is truly the best birthday I have ever had, and I have never felt so much love and support. The worst part of my life has become the best part of my life. I never realized how much I am loved. This whole situation has changed my entire outlook on life.”

Along with many other COVID-19 patients, Ron has left a lasting impression on West Chester Hospital’s frontline workers. What he did not realize was that one door over was another room filled with his nurses who were witnessing the amazing reaction of the crowd. “We had goosebumps, tears, and smiles. We were so happy for him to have this moment—of living and being alive,” added Kate.

On May 4, Ron’s remarkable recovery was celebrated by the staff at West Chester Hospital when he was released by doctors to return home after battling COVID-19 for 38 days. As he was wheeled out with cheers from the hospital team, he garnered enough energy to say thank you to everyone.

“Thank you all so much,” he said. “You have all provided me with excellent care. You are truly professionals. I could not have asked for a better hospital stay. Not only did you provide me with medical attention, you cared for me and you invested in me. I’m a better person for having been a patient here and interfacing with all of you.”

Kate shared, “Our patient care staff went from not knowing if this man would make it, to the moment when we saw he was not feeling so frustrated about being sick, but felt thankful to be alive. That's pretty extraordinary.”