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Being diagnosed with COVID-19 on September 1, 2021 was the start of a challenging and scary medical emergency for Derick Chandler and his pregnant wife, Jessie. Derick had been struggling with COVID-19 for several days. He was having problems breathing and experiencing extremely high fevers. Derick went to see his doctor in Mars Hill, NC on September 3, who told him to immediately go to the hospital.
Derick and Jessie went to a local hospital close to Mars Hill to be treated. While Derick was inside being cared for, Jessie went into preterm labor in the parking lot of the hospital. It was a month before her due date, so Jessie was transported by ambulance to another hospital to give birth. Because both Derick and Jessie were COVID-19 positive, Derick could not be with Jessie while she was giving birth.
Derick had been given oxygen and sent home. While his wife was in labor, Derick was at his home in Mars Hill struggling to breathe and couldn’t get his fever under control. “I just couldn’t breathe,” Derick says, “I was afraid if I didn’t go [to the hospital] it would get worse. My fever wouldn’t break. I did everything I could think of.”
Derick’s mother urged him to go to AdventHealth Hendersonville. “My mom said AdventHealth was the best choice,” Derick explained, “All we’ve heard is good stuff about it. That’s where I decided to go.”
On September 4, the same day his daughter, Allie Mae, was born, Derick was admitted to AdventHealth Hendersonville. They tried several different options to get his oxygen levels back up, but nothing worked. That’s when they decided to put him on a ventilator. He ended up being on the ventilator for eleven and a half days.
Derick was impressed with the care he received from the team at AdventHealth, especially from ICU Clinical Nurse Supervisor, Staci Jackson, BSN, RN. “She was just super nice,” Derick recalls, “She would go out of her way just to check on me, even when it wasn’t her rounds.”
“I’ve always been a huge patient advocate,” Staci shares, “It’s something I pride myself on... speaking up for those who have limited means to do so. Our COVID patients are so limited and isolated. Derick also had the challenge of being separated from his wife and their newborn. Being a mom, that just devastated me.”
The team at AdventHealth continued to provide whole-person care to Derick throughout his battle with COVID-19. Derick said the nurses would pray with him and were his connection to the outside world. They went out of their way to make him comfortable and support him during his stay.
“Everybody there was great,” Derick recalls, “They kept in touch with all my family. They used my phone, and the nurses would text for me. They would show me pictures of my baby. They just went out of their way.”
“I am also grateful to hear I made a difference in this man’s life,” Staci says, “In the end, I believe that is one of the most important things you can do with your life… make a difference.”
Overall, Derick’s stay at AdventHealth lasted 20 days. He was finally able to go home on September 24 and meet his new baby girl. “It was a blessing,” Derick says, “I was tickled to death, and very thankful.”
Derick is still recovering at home and waiting to see how much longer he will need to use oxygen. He does know for sure that he will be recommending AdventHealth Hendersonville to anyone who asks. “I would recommend it to anybody over any other hospital,” Derick says, “I don’t think anywhere I’ve ever been you’ll meet nicer staff. They act like it’s not a job to them. That was their purpose for being there. They act like they actually care about you.”