Erica Gutierrez, BSN, RN | Director of Inpatient Rehabilitation
Northeast Baptist Hospital
San Antonio, Texas
52-year-old Pamela Oakley is somewhat of a miracle. Hospitalized with COVID-19 at Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio for almost six weeks and on a ventilator for 20 days, Pamela was not expected to leave the hospital alive. She survived, and recently walked out of the hospital unassisted but accompanied by hundreds of hospital staff who attended a huge sendoff celebration in her honor that included cheers, applause, noisemakers and pompoms.
Pamela was the first patient to be intubated and come off of a ventilator at Northeast Baptist Hospital. The last part of her journey at the hospital was regaining the strength and ability to walk again. Her inpatient rehabilitation team was led by Erica Gutierrez, director of inpatient rehabilitation at the hospital.
“When she first came to us, Pamela could not walk more than a few feet at a time without shortness of breath,” said Erica. “We worked with her for almost two weeks to build her stamina and strength. Her rehabilitation program included physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, with nursing staff support as well. She worked hard daily to build strength, memory and writing skills. Pamela was determined to leave the hospital on her own steam, and she did. It is very rewarding to see these patients go home and leave the hospital walking on their own.”
Erica says Pamela’s remarkable recovery is thanks to every department in the hospital from ICU to EVS, with doctors, nurses, techs, therapists and many others involved in her care. Pamela’s story is proof that miracles can and do happen, thanks to the healthcare heroes who are providing compassionate, quality care in our hospitals every day.
Pictured from left to right: Rachel Stanzel, Erica Gutierrez, Brittany Weiher, Pamela Oakley, Marsha Delacruz, Laura Salinas, Kandi Lucas, Morgan Mogler