St. Luke’s 500th COVID-19 Discharge is Freemansburg Woman

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500th Covid-19 Discharge

Credit: St. Luke's University Health Network

Debra Kannapel, of Freemansburg, is discharged from St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Anderson campus after recovering from COVID-19. Kannapel’s discharge on April 24, 2020, marked the network’s 500th COVID-19 discharge.

St. Luke’s University Health Network marked a major milestone in its war on COVID-19 Friday with the discharge of its 500th patient; a local woman who battled the disease and won.

Debra Kannapel, 60, of Freemansburg, left St. Luke’s Anderson Campus to the applause of staff as the “Rocky” theme song played over the intercom; part of a victorious farewell that’s become a tradition at the hospital since the pandemic began.

Click here to see a video of Kannapel’s discharge.

Network-wide, among the 500 patients St. Luke’s has discharged to date are approximately 10 percent who were on ventilators as a result of the disease.

“These remarkable figures reflect the lifesaving care provided by our doctors, nurses and other caregivers and the incredible innovations that have made St. Luke’s a national and international leader in the treatment of COVID-19 patients,” said infectious disease specialist Jeffrey Jahre, MD, St. Luke’s Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs.

Kannapel was admitted to the Anderson Campus hospital in Bethlehem Township on Monday, April 20 after presenting to the emergency room. Her test results–which came back within just 90 minutes–indicated she was positive for COVID-19.

St. Luke’s has developed a comprehensive medication protocol based on the best evidence available that includes high dose vitamin C, zinc, atorvastatin and steroids.

The Network has also developed non-invasive techniques such as high-flow nasal cannula and self-proning maneuvers, in which patients spend up to 12 hours a day lying on their stomachs to help distribute oxygen more effectively in the lungs.

Use of the self-proning maneuver helped a local man–Curtis Ding–avoid being placed on a ventilator. Ding later went on to become the 100th COVID-19 patient discharged from Anderson Campus.

The St. Luke’s approach proved effective for Kannapel. Her condition improved, allowing her to avoid transfer to the intensive care unit where some patients ultimately need assistance from a ventilator to breathe.

“My experience here was fantastic, and all of the people are wonderful,” Kannapel said as she left St. Luke’s Anderson Campus to return home.

Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.

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