LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The “Baptist miracle” went home this week. The woman, who was a patient at Baptist Health Louisville for 43 days with severe COVID-19 symptoms, was discharged May 20. It’s a day that just a few weeks ago seemed a little out of reach for the 50-year-old Oldham County resident.
But there was no underestimating Ruth Moore’s will to live.
“She is a true fighter,” said Calla Cissel, nurse manager at Baptist Health’s 4-South wing where Moore had been recuperating. “We need to hear positive stories, and Ms. Moore is such a positive personality.”
And fighter. The mother of three, who had recently completed eight chemotherapy treatments for multiple myeloma prior to getting sick with COVID-19, was admitted to the hospital April 8. She was on a ventilator in the intensive care unit for 27 days and at one time her family was brought in, one at a time, because her diagnosis looked so bleak.
But the fighter kept fighting.
“It’s indescribable. I didn’t think we would make it to this day,” her daughter Lindsey said as Moore was leaving the hospital.
Ruth’s sister Sarah flew in from Houston to be there as she was wheeled out of the hospital. She was overwhelmed with emotion.
“Not every patient that comes in and gets put on a ventilator doesn’t get to see the sunshine again,” she said. “We are eternally grateful for those prayer warriors from around the country that have surrounded us the last 43 days, and we just want to be an encouragement for those that are in this fight for our whole world as we continue to navigate COVID. There is hope. There are good stories of COVID survivors.”
On May 3, Moore received a tracheotomy in order to get off the ventilator. There were many days that were touch and go during her recovery.
“She overcame big challenges every day,” Jaime Lewis, charge nurse at Baptist, said. “That is why I started calling her the Baptist miracle. They didn’t know if she would make it out of here and now she is able to take a few steps to her daughter’s vehicle.”
As Moore continued to improve, she was able to communicate with her children through texting on an iPad, with Chelsea Hall’s assistance. Her children and sister were all there when Moore was discharged. So were several Baptist Health nurses and employees who lined the hall and cheered as she was wheeled out to a waiting vehicle.
Lewis said nurses call family members regularly to give updates on their loved one. But Moore’s family wanted to see and talk to her, so a daily Zoom meeting was set up. It’s something the nurses have become experts at in the last two months – managing Zoom meetings with families and patients.
Moore continued to make progress in recent days according to her children. On Wednesday she was able to walk 30 feet, her tracheotomy was downsized over the weekend and eventually removed and Moore began eating some of her favorite foods.
“It’s been a major roller coaster. I felt like there would be a good day, and we would be feeling good, and then we would get some bad news and then we would have to go and sit and think about that,” Lindsey said about her mother’s stay. “We got to a point where the progress was very minimal and those days are hard waiting for just even a little bit of progress. There were a lot of ups and downs.”
Dr. Geetha Joseph said Moore’s weakened immune system from the chemotherapy made her more vulnerable to the virus, but added her age helped her beat back the illness.
“She is young, but her immune system was low,” Joseph, Ruth’s oncologist, said. “She is a very lucky lady.”
For Cissel and Lewis, Moore’s victory over COVID-19 has been a true inspiration, and could not have come at a better time. Working in 4-South, they have taken care of COVID patients for almost 10 weeks. There were days that tested their nursing skills.
“We have had a lot of patients pass away … we have seen a lot of heartbreak,” Cissel said. “We have held the hands of patients as they died. To see a true miracle gives us hope.”
Lewis said she has stopped watching “the news” because coverage of COVID was always so negative.
“There are positive things, and this is one of those positive things,” she said. “You become their family, their sister, daughter. I have been her nurse three days a week for three weeks. You are the only one they see since family is not allowed in.”
While the nursing staff has become part of Moore’s family and will miss seeing her, they are thrilled she finally got to go home. She is their “Baptist miracle.”
“She has grown on us, but she needs to be with her family and catch up on all she has lost out on,” Lewis said.
Which will start with her favorite food and beverage.
“She is probably going to eat her favorite food and drink a diet coke,” Lindsey said of her mother. “I think she is going to be really excited to be home and talk to us face to face and not have to FaceTime anymore.”
As Moore exited the nursing unit and on her way out of the hospital, staff lined the hall and cheered this joyous occasion. As is tradition for each COVID-19 discharge, The Beatle’s song “Here Comes the Sun” played.
She was received outside by her family and they had more welcome home plans in store with a street lined with friends greeting her with posters and waves.