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After returning from an uplifting church conference, Reverend Timothy Cole collapsed in the shower with flu-like symptoms. He was brought to the emergency department at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and was quickly admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Rev. Cole became the first known COVID-19 patient in Washington, D.C.
When he learned he tested positive for the Coronavirus, Rev. Cole says the diagnosis left him shocked and greatly concerned. For three weeks, he was isolated from everyone except the medical team, while receiving intensive care. “Though these were unprecedented circumstances, I was in the Army, so I’m used to being separated and away from my family and wife,” Rev. Cole states. He then admits, “after learning I was the first diagnosed case in the District, I found myself in a different place, a darker place. But the nurses were great and so helpful to me.”
While Rev. Cole relied on the outpouring of support from his family and congregation, he also found solace in the care he received from our staff at MedStar Georgetown. “This encouraged my faith in the medical system and I thought that the care I got was absolutely top end. I felt that those caring for me were experts,” he says. Reflecting on how clinicians can ease distress in situations such as this, Rev. Cole was grateful for the care he received during such a stressful time. “The nurses and staff were lovely, and outstanding physicians like Dr. Amarin Sangkharat stopped by every day, full of positivity and kept me upbeat. I am very appreciative of the small acts of gratitude shown to me,” Rev. Cole said.
Now home and recovering since his late March release from the hospital, Rev. Cole reflects on his continued gratitude to the frontline workers at MedStar Georgetown. “God bless you!”, he said, “I admire them, and they did everything with such positive attitudes. I was most fortunate to have such dedicated and caring people help me while I was in that situation. The staff was absolutely wonderful.” In hopes of helping others like himself recover from the virus, Rev. Cole encourages community members to be a part of the plasma therapy clinical trial at MedStar Georgetown to treat COVID-19 infections.