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UCHealth gives standing ovation to own nurse as part of COVID-19 survivor sendoff

May 27, 2020

Fort Collins, Colo. ( May 27, 2020) – The past couple weeks have been very exciting at UCHealth hospitals. More and more patients who were once very sick with COVID-19 are recovering enough to go home.

After many special sendoffs to bid farewell to patients who have recovered from COVID-19, dozens of doctors, nurses and staff members at UCHealth cheered, clapped and waved for one of their own.

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Deb Hoffman, a licensed practical nurse at UCHealth Family Medicine Clinic in Greeley, fought the disease for more than six weeks in three hospitals in northern Colorado.

She has no idea where she caught the new coronavirus. It could have been church, the grocery store, work or even a gas pump, she said. But when she got sick in early April, she got very sick, very quickly.

With a fever over 103 degrees and a cough that wouldn’t quit, she had to be rushed by ambulance to UCHealth Greeley Hospital, where she was cared for until her condition worsened a few days later. She was transferred to the intensive care unit at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. Hoffman remembers talking with a physician there who told her: “We’ve got you. Don’t worry.” That was right before she was put on a ventilator that helped her breathe for 17 days.

By May 9, Hoffman was well enough to be moved to UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation work to start working on rebuilding her voice, her strength and her energy. Step by step, she got stronger and stronger.

On Wednesday, she gave a thumbs up several times as she was ushered down the hallways that were lined with her UCHealth family that gathered to celebrate her discharge.

She still has more work to do to fully recover. She’ll keep up with the exercises to build more strength and eventually get off oxygen completely. She can’t wait until she is strong enough to get back to work to be caring for others again. For now, though, Hoffman said she is just looking forward to sleeping in her own bed and to feeling the warmth of the sun on her face.