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Millcreek Journal

St. Mark’s releases first COVID-19 patient who required intubation

Jun 01, 2020 10:52AM ● By Kirk Bradford

Isabel Toscano smiles for friends and supporters who arrived to see her be discharged from St. Mark’s Hospital after fighting COVID-19. (Kirk Bradford/City Journals)

By Kirk Bradford | [email protected]

Last month, Utah was approaching triple digits in the number of COVID-19 related deaths. Throughout the time it took for the numbers to rise, there was one Salt Lake County nurse who fought against the odds and for her life.

St. Mark’s Hospital Behavioral Health nurse Isabel Toscano was greeted by cheers of encouragement from family and supporters who held poster boards of encouragement. 

“I didn’t expect to see so many people here for me,” Toscano said with some emotion as media and others moved into place to hear her deliver a short speech about the experience.

“I came into the ICU on March 29, and 51 days later I am going home,” she said. She thanked those people who had for the past seven weeks tended to her care and helped save her life. 

Jennifer Jellerson heads up the critical care unit at St. Mark’s Hospital. “We started her in our step down unit but after a few days, her oxygen levels dropped to the point we had to intubate her. She was our first COVID-19 patient we had to intubate,” Jellerson told the Millcreek Journal.

Jellerson explained how roughly three weeks of Toscano’s experience was on a ventilator and how at St. Mark’s, “We kept her sedated and comfortable throughout the experience.” Toscano spent three weeks of the ordeal in complete sedation as she fought to raise her oxygen levels to a safe point. 

Jellerson said St. Mark’s has been OK with the number of ventilators they have needed on hand and thinks they will be alright for future need. She also said, “We need to remember the survivors of the virus, they are just important as the deaths and we always need to remember our wins.”

Toscano said after a few weeks to recover at home, she is excited to return to St. Mark’s and start helping others again as a nurse.