Beaufort man recovering from COVID-19 at home after 21 days on ventilator

VIDEO: Beaufort man recovers after 21 days on ventilator

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCSC) - A 57-year-old Beaufort man is home after spending three weeks on a ventilator and almost a month in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.

Maurice Allen said he went from having a bad cough for a couple weeks to losing his strength almost instantly.

“One day I was working on the roof and couldn’t get back down, because I felt weak. So, I called my wife, and we went to the emergency room [at Beaufort Memorial Hospital]," Allen said. "One of the nurses discovered my oxygen level went low, so they wheeled me right in, and, that’s pretty much what I remember. The next thing I remember is coming out of MUSC coming back to Beaufort.”

When he was first admitted, his prognosis was not good, according to Dr. Patrick Meehan, one of Allen’s physicians at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

“When he arrived at the hospital Mr. Allen was extremely ill, critically ill,” Meehan said. “It quickly became clear that the care we were providing was not going to be enough, so the ICU team decided to transfer him to the Medical University of South Carolina for more intensive care.”

His daughter, Jessica Allen, who’s also a nurse at Beaufort Memorial, was shocked when she saw him for the first time.

“I just remember walking into the ICU and seeing him through the glass window, and he was on a ventilator, and we had no idea it was that bad," she said. “They had a hard time stabilizing him. It would be one moment he’d be stable, the next moment he’d be up and down. His blood pressure was all over the place. He is a diabetic, so there were some challenges with that,”

Once stable enough, he was taken by helicopter to MUSC where he spent about a month, 21 days of which were on a ventilator. The moment he came off it is one his wife, Angela, will never forget.

“When he came off, three minutes they allowed me to FaceTime. I could hardly hear what he was saying, but I knew that he was there. And to finally hear that he was going to be okay just brought tears to me," she said. "I’m still a little bit emotional about it. I just didn’t think, at one point, that I was going to see him again.”

Allen was then brought back to Beaufort Memorial for a few days to rehabilitate. He was then released and has since been recovering at home.

“I’m getting my strength back, but I can tell definitely it was a fight just looking at the marks on my arm from the IVs and stuff that they had to do some serious work," Maurice Allen said. “I had a lot of people praying for me, especially the family. It was really hard on them, but as far as I remember is going into the emergency room and coming back by ambulance from MUSC.”

“That fact that he is here and was able to go home is a miracle,” nurse Margo Wehrenberg said.

He’s now self-quarantining until May 1 and said he’s got a long road to recovery.

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