Jackson respiratory therapist on ventilator over 40 days after COVID diagnosis

Respiratory therapist in Jackson now on ventilator due to COVID-19 complications

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Stacie Smith is a respiratory therapist. She and her husband Kevin were both diagnosed with COVID-19 in July.

“So we were in quarantine together. She ran a fever for about seven or eight days. And then I had to call an ambulance on August the 2nd due to the shortness of breath. She couldn’t breathe well, and so the ambulance got her she was sent to St. Dominic’s," said Kevin Smith.

His wife spent the night in the emergency room, then was moved to intensive care and placed on a ventilator.

It’s been over 40 days.

“It’s been really hard. It’s been ups and downs. A lot of downs, but I will tell you that we have hundreds if not thousands of people praying for her. Her oxygen dropped really severely and they had to do a technique called proning," said Smith.

Proning is the process of turning a patient over onto their stomach.

UMMC and Baptist Hospital are also using this method on their COVID-19 patients.

Pulmonologist Jefferey Wright explains how it works.

“[Proning] is used to increase the oxygenation that a patient has. When people are laying on their backs, they get a lot of fluids and sort of collects in their lungs. Towards the back of the lungs. So by proning them that helps relieve that; helps open up the back part of the lungs better so that their oxygen levels rise," said Dr.Wright.

Dr. Wright says proning comes with its complications if done incorrectly or without proper training.

Smith believes the procedure is helping his wife get better. He hopes she can get back to helping people on the frontlines of the pandemic soon.

“..She’s still on ventilation. She still in serious condition, but I really think that the proning is what gave her body a chance to heal enough. That she could come out from under," said Smith.

If you’d like to help, a GoFundMe page has been set up for the family.

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