ER Nurse Fighting Coronavirus at Her Own Hospital Heads Home to Cheers

"When I get back to work I’m going to make sure I take care of everyone the same way"

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A large crowd applauded an emergency room nurse at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital as she went home Thursday after spending weeks at the hospital fighting the new coronavirus.

Debbie Buonopane held up a hand-written sign to the cheering crowd of dozens as she was wheeled out of the Brigham around 1 p.m. Police from her home town of Quincy, Massachusetts, then escorted Buonopane's SUV home in a convoy.

"When I get back to work I’m going to make sure I take care of everyone the same way," the 58-year-old said after the procession.

Police, firefighters and other first responders joined her neighbors in applauding her at home. Some displayed signs calling her a hero, and at least one person brought flowers.

Governor Charlie Baker urged residents to continue practicing proper safety procedures to keep cases down.

Buonopane spent about seven days in the hospital after she started feeling body aches, then noticed a fever, said her daughter, Kristina Buonopane.

The coronavirus isn't Buonopane's first tough medical fight -- she's a breast cancer survivor as well. She's also a Navy veteran and volunteers at the medical tent at the Boston Marathon, according to her family.

They said that she had responded well to an experimental arthritis drug.

Some ambitious grad students answered the call to help after learning that in-home nurses did not have access to enough protective equipment.
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