Sitting in her wheelchair, a 101-year-old COVID-19 patient surnamed Li expressed her thanks to the medical staff who had cared for her over the previous five days.
"Thank you so much. I didn't expect to be discharged so soon," said Li, a resident in Haizhu District of Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, which has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the past few weeks.
On Nov. 21, the centenarian developed a high fever, cough, shortness of breath and other symptoms, with a positive nucleic acid test result. Due to her advanced age and underlying conditions, she was rushed to the ICU at the Guangdong Second Provincial General Hospital.
With careful treatment, Li recovered gradually and left the ward after only five days in hospital, making her the oldest person to be discharged from the hospital's isolation ward during the latest virus resurgence.
Xing Rui, director of the hospital's critical care medicine department, recalled that Li was in a critical condition when she arrived at the hospital, with complications such as unconsciousness, dehydration and cardiac insufficiency. In view of the patient's malnutrition and dehydration following the high fever, physician Wei Yi immediately arranged for rehydration to relieve her dehydration and electrolyte disturbance conditions.
"At that time, the elderly person had no energy and didn't respond much when spoken to," Xing said. "But the doctors and nurses cheered her up by chatting with her in Cantonese, which relaxed her."
As Li also had a weak cough and poor sputum discharge, the nurses turned her over and patted her back every one to two hours, so that the sputum could be discharged smoothly. Meanwhile, the ICU nutrition team worked out a special nutrition program to meet the patient's particular situation.
Two days later, Li's body temperature began to drop, her inflammatory indicators returned to normal, her physical and mental condition improved significantly, and her lung symptoms were effectively improved. After expert evaluation, she was transferred from the ICU to the cardiovascular rehabilitation ward for further treatment, where she felt better and received a negative nucleic acid test result.
On Nov. 26, Li's condition had improved so much that she was discharged from hospital.
"Because most of the elderly COVID-19 patients suffer from underlying conditions, it is relatively difficult to treat them. It is remarkable that Li was able to prevail over the virus and recover. We sincerely wish her good health," said Lao Yu, deputy chief physician of the hospital's cardiovascular medicine department.
From Nov. 14 to Dec. 7, the hospital received 2,016 COVID-19 patients and discharged 1,048.
"If you put your heart into it, you will be able to cure more patients. For aged patients with underlying conditions, ICU intervention means a better chance of survival," said Xing, adding that the hospital has reserved about 200 ICU beds for treating critically ill patients.