Medical Staff Cheers After 92-Year-Old Man With Pre-Existing Conditions Beats Coronavirus

Leonidas Romero, 92, was discharged from Spaulding Hospital Cambridge after recovering from COVID-19

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A standing ovation came Wednesday for a Massachusetts patient who has beaten almost impossible odds.

When you're 92 years old and you just recovered from COVID-19, it's time to celebrate.

"He's been here about 12 days. He's done amazingly well, surpassed, I believe, anybody's expectations, being the older gentleman that he is," Spaulding Hospital Cambridge Vice President of Hospital Operations and Director of Nursing Joanne Fucile said of coronavirus patient Leonidas Romero.

When Romero began experiencing respiratory symptoms a month ago, his daughter, Carolina – who's not only his caretaker, but also a health care worker at the Chelsea Soldiers Home – knew immediately she had to call for an ambulance.

"When they said my father had the coronavirus, I am nervous, I am scared," Carolina Romero said through video chat.

Romero says while she became sick with the novel coronavirus, too, and recovered, her elderly father needed much more involved care at Spaulding's Cambridge facility after leaving Massachusetts General Hospital.

"He has a lot of pre-existing conditions that really would set him up for failure with COVID, but we have seen that miraculously, he was able to overcome," said Nurse Case Manager Cintia Barbosa.

The emotion between father and daughter was palpable as the two embraced for the first time in a month, a moment Carolina Romero wasn't sure she'd ever experience.

"I'm happy, I say thank God because my father is alive," she said.

The happy reunion is also the reason these nurses and doctors leave the safety of their homes to come to work every day.

"It's because of these moments that we're able to see hope in the middle of a crisis," Barbosa said.

Spaulding anticipates it will be able to discharge another four or five patients from the COVID unit over the next week.

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