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Celebrating St. Luke's First COVID-19 Patient: Celeste's Story

April 14, 2020
During these difficult times, finding moments to celebrate can be challenging. But St. Luke’s Hospital team members are bringing joy to each COVID-19 patient who reaches the much-anticipated milestone of leaving the hospital.

One special celebration was for Celeste Marx.

In late March, Celeste was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for COVID-19. One week later, her oxygen levels dropped, and she needed a ventilator. “I was placed on a ventilator on March 29 and extubated on April 5,” she said. “I realize it could have gone either way. Before they intubated me, I told the nurses, ‘Don’t give up on me.’” 

They didn’t. Her care team closely monitored her progress as her health stabilized and improved. Then, she received the news she hoped to hear. “I found myself welling up with tears of joy when I told people I’m coming home,” she said.

In total, she spent 23 days at St. Luke’s, seven of them on a ventilator to help her breathe. 

To celebrate her recovery and release, St. Luke’s employees lined the hallway to give her a hero’s sendoff, complete with claps and cheers as she exited the front doors and reunited with her loved ones. 

“It’s a joy I have never felt in my life,” she said. “I am so grateful to God, first and foremost, and to the entire St. Luke’s community. To Dr. Neil Ettinger, my pulmonologist, all of the nurses, technicians, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, the intensive care unit. I wish I had the memory to thank each one individually.” 

Marx’s happy homecoming is extra sweet for St. Luke’s. She is the hospital’s first COVID-19 discharge of a patient off a ventilator. “I was a lucky person,” she said.