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Your Healthy Family: Team of medical workers keeping severe COVID-19 patient alive

Posted at 7:38 AM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 07:38:00-05

NAPLES, Fla. — In severe cases of COVID-19, it takes an entire team of medical workers to save a life. Fox 4 is introducing you to some of the people with NCH Healthcare System who've kept a Naples man alive and are helping him recover from the virus.

Sean Hanley, 53, came into NCH Healthcare System's Downtown Baker Hospital ten weeks ago on a ventilator with a severe case of COVID-19. He was in a medically-induced coma, and now he's on an artificial lung while his lungs recover from the havoc of the virus.

"I wouldn't be here unless it was for the doctor," Hanley said. "Words cant describe how grateful I am."

But Hanley's Doctor, Dr. Gaston Cudemus, who's the Chief of NCH's Cardiovascular ICU and the director of its ECMO Program, said he doesn't work alone.

"We have to have a multidisciplinary team to work with us with physicians, nurses, PAs and MPs, perfusionists. So it takes a village to be able to take care of these patients,” he said.

"The doctor is a quarterback, but the real help is from the nursing staff and all the unbelievable support that they've given me,” Hanley said.

Hanley is on an ECMO machine that's oxygenating his blood so his lungs can focus on recovering from the virus. Julie Murphy, a Charge Nurse in the Cardiothoracic ICU where Hanley is recovering teaches other nurses, how to use that equipment.

"It's amazing to know that we have the technology that can oxygenate his blood and keep him alive,” she said.

Michelle Mosher is one of the registered nurses who's been taking care of Hanley since the beginning.

"He was transferred in from one of the other local hospitals. Seeing him rolling on a stretcher, he was in the prone position. So he was on his stomach when he came in, and he had a ventilator. And to see him today sitting up in a chair, speaking, being able to interact with us, and seeing him come so far is just such a great accomplishment," she said.

Ronald Pierre, another Registered Nurse, said he's hopeful for Hanley's future.

"We have hope that he can walk again and do what he likes to do,” he said.

The whole team at NCH, who's worked tirelessly to keep Hanley alive and help him recover, all said they don't do the job for the paycheck.

"It's a calling. Being able to help people is the greatest thing in the world," Mosher said.