In spring of 2020, Jeri Hall was experiencing fever and respiratory symptoms. After a week, she was having trouble breathing, so she drove herself to Monroe Hospital. She was promptly admitted, put on oxygen, and after a week in the hospital, her care team made the decision to put her on a ventilator.
That night, Jeri sent her daughter, Ronnie, a message, “I’m going on a vent. I love you.”
Because of COVID-19 visitor restrictions, Jeri’s family was unable to enter the hospital to visit her. They improvised by visiting her window daily, standing outside, praying, talking to her, hoping that she would feel their presence. “We thought it would make her fight a little harder,” said Ronnie.
The team at Monroe closely monitored Jeri, experimenting with different treatments. At one point, her condition was such that Dr. Eric Trueblood, Pulmonologist and Critical Care Physician, was not sure she would make it through the night. “We wanted to give her every chance of survival and recovery that we could.” said Dr. Trueblood. “I remember telling the family that she only had a 1% chance of making it through the night.”
“I slept in the parking lot that night,” said Ronnie. It’s devastating for any daughter to learn that her mother only has a 1% chance to live. It was especially so for Ronnie whose father had passed away a month earlier.
Miraculously, Jeri held on that night.
Days later, when Dr. Trueblood took her off the ventilator, one of Jeri’s nurses, Dawn, was in the room. Dawn said, “Taking that tube out and waiting for her to have that spontaneous breath and to really be successful at that is always that moment where you take a deep breath. We were all at her bedside just rooting her on… It makes you really happy to be a nurse that day.”
Jeri had spent 20 days on the ventilator.
Every day Jeri continued to improve, with the help of her physicians, nurses, and physical therapists. Her friends and family continued to visit her at her window and call so they could keep updated on her progress and encourage her to keep fighting. When she left the hospital, 75 of Monroe Hospital’s nurses, doctors, and staff lined the hallway, applauding as she was wheeled out.
Jeri was overwhelmed with the care and support she had received during her stay at Monroe. “To know that there are so many people praying for you, reaching out, looking after my kids, and giving things up for me…miracles happen.” She said.
Jeri’s remarkable story was the center of a documentary called Time to Heal filmed at Monroe Hospital about their experience with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Her story is unique in that she was at a very small hospital and we didn’t have much knowledge of COVID at the time. She was incredibly sick. We were using all the advanced techniques available, and her oxygen got down to dangerously low levels. Even at a small rural hospital we have all the tools needed to bring people through this.” Said Dr Trueblood
A year later, Jeri is back working on her farm with her family. New to her farm is a horse she named Monroe, after the hospital that saved her life. (Pictured in the photo above.) She is engaged and preparing for her upcoming wedding.
One of the questions she has been frequently asked is, “How did you survive?” Jeri replies, “I had a wonderful doctor and staff, and I am a strong person. I have been through some trials in my life and overcome them. I’m just a strong determined person.” She says. “It’s not my time to go.”
To watch Time to Heal please visit Monroe Hospital’s website.