UCHealth celebrates release of 2,000th COVID patient

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – UCHealth is marking a milestone in the fight against coronavirus: 2,000 patients recovering from COVID-19 have now been discharged across the state.

Dr. Jean Kutner is the chief medical officer for University of Colorado Hospital.

“We’ve seen tremendous changes in how we have cared for patients with COVID infection over the past six months. It’s amazing to think this is a brand-new disease none of us have ever seen. We’ve learned from our own experiences. We have participated in 38 clinical trials of various ways of treating COVID-19 and learning from various colleagues across the country. We are definitely seeing better outcomes month over month,” she said.

Doctors, nurses and other staff members are on hand to cheer them on when patients get released. They say these moments mean just as much to them as it does to the patients and their families.

“To see people do well and walk out of the hospital — especially those who have been so desperately ill — it’s been so important to us. In fact, I just saw a video today of some of our patients, still brings tears to my eyes. That’s what we do, that’s why we are in health care: to help people to improve and do better,” Kutner said.

UCHealth hospitals have cared for nearly 30% of those admitted across Colorado. Many had extended stays in the intensive care unit and were on ventilators to help them breathe.

Kutner said they also get updates from patients who have gone on to rehab and fully recovered.

“It’s so important to our front-line providers to see the patients they care for in some cases weeks and weeks to now do better. We’ve actually heard back from patients and families even after they’ve gone to rehab, come back a few months later, to be able to have their lives back, it keeps us going as health care providers,” she said.

Kutner said it is a privilege to be able to care for people who are suffering through this disease.

She said, “It’s really honestly attacking the disease from multiple perspectives. It’s a very serious disease. We are seeing better outcomes month over month. We still have to take it very seriously as a disease, I also feel more hopeful for prevention of it and for those people who get infected to have a better course with it.”

UCHealth is now caring for about 65 hospitalized patients across Colorado with either confirmed or possible COVID-19 infections, almost double the number of hospitalizations from late August but still far below the height of the pandemic when UCHealth was actively caring for more than 260 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. And with flu season approaching, UCHealth encourages patients to get a flu shot.

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