Published on April 22, 2020

NMMC Discharges First COVID-19 Ventilator Patient

On April 16, Maggie Carroll of Cotton Plant became North Mississippi Medical Center’s first COVID-19 patient to be extubated from the ventilator and discharged from the hospital.

“I got up on a Thursday morning with a tightness in my chest. That was the only symptom I had,” said Carroll, who was scheduled to work her shift at Dirt Cheap in Blue Mountain later that afternoon. “I went ahead and went to the ER.” Her only underlying health conditions are diabetes and high blood pressure.

Carroll was admitted to NMMC that day, March 26, and her condition continued to worsen. To help her breathe, she was placed on a ventilator on March 28, her 52nd birthday. “I really don’t remember much about it,” Carroll said. “I stayed confused a lot of the time. The doctors and nurses kept my sisters, Kim and Linda, informed because no one could stay with me.” To help limit exposure, COVID-19 patients are not allowed visitors except at end of life.

After 13 days on the ventilator and several more days in the hospital, Carroll’s doctor said she was well enough to go home. On April 16, NMMC staff members lined the halls on the COVID-19 unit and the lobby as Carroll was pushed in a wheelchair to her sister’s car. “It was wonderful watching everybody cheering me on. I couldn’t do anything but cry,” she said. “I was so happy to be going home, and I realized how sick I had been. I was amazed at the staff—what an awesome team!”

Carroll, who had gotten extremely weak from the coronavirus, has been resting since she left the hospital. “I feel great now. I can stand up without any help, and I’m wanting to get some exercise,” she said. “I’m ready to get off this porch!”

To anyone who thinks COVID-19 may not be as bad as doctors warn, Carroll said, “Cover up when you go around people—put a mask and gloves on. It’s real.”

While Carroll still doesn’t know how she contracted COVID-19, she certainly knows how she recovered. “I thank God I made it through,” she said. “I have to give Him all the praise. God worked through the doctor. They said I was a miracle. If it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t be here.”

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