COVID-19 Story Tip: Johns Hopkins Hospital Patient ‘Grateful to Still Be Alive’ After Two-Month Hospitalization with Covid-19

05/05/2021

Driving a car, walking or even putting on clothes were always second nature for 49-year-old Latrice Daniels. But after she developed COVID-19 and spent two months in the hospital, she no longer takes those everyday activities for granted.

In December, Latrice, who lives in Baltimore, began feeling tired and achy. She also had chills and shortness of breath. A test for COVID-19 came back positive. As time went on, she became progressively worse, developing high fever, and felt even more difficulty breathing. She was admitted to a local hospital on Dec. 24, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia in both of her lungs. After a few days, her condition wasn’t getting better, and she was placed on a ventilator. “I called my daughter,” Latrice recalls. “That’s the last thing I remember from that point.” Because of her continuing declining condition, Latrice was transferred to The Johns Hopkins Hospital from another local hospital on Jan. 7. “In the middle of the night, I got a call from [Johns] Hopkins. It gave me relief,” says Dionne Daniels, Latrice’s daughter. “To know there is some hope, and things can turn around — that was another sense of relief.” Dionne describes the subsequent days as a “roller coaster,” as her mom’s condition would improve and worsen with every passing day. Then, on Jan. 17, she received a call from her mom’s doctor requesting that she come to the hospital because her mother was in grave condition. “I felt in my heart that wasn’t the end for my mother,” Dionne says.

Latrice’s condition soon began to progress in the right direction. Her medical team gradually reduced her sedation, and, on Feb. 7, Latrice woke up after three weeks in a medically induced coma. “The nurse said, ‘Well, hello, sleeping beauty. I finally get to meet you,” Latrice remembers as she awoke. She was removed from the ventilator, but was still receiving additional oxygen, from which she was eventually weaned.

“Ms. Daniels was on a ventilator for almost a month” says Brian Garibaldi, M.D., associate professor of medicine and one of Latrice’s physicians during her ICU stay. “We thought she was going to need to spend a much longer time on the ventilator and had scheduled a tracheostomy, a common procedure to assist patients breathing when they are on ventilators for extended periods of time. However, she turned the corner and made a wonderful recovery without requiring the trach.”

Latrice moved to the acute inpatient rehabilitation unit, where she worked three hours a day doing physical, occupational and speech therapy to relearn how to swallow food, walk, dress and care for herself again. After two months in two hospitals, Latrice was discharged on Feb. 26.

Today, Latrice says she is doing much better but is still working to regain strength more than two months after her discharge. She continues her rehabilitation through home physical and occupational therapy. She is not driving or going to stores. Besides the occasional doctor’s appointment, including appointments with the Post-Acute COVID-19 Team clinic at Johns Hopkins, she stays at home. As the pandemic continues, Latrice, a self-proclaimed “hugger,” misses embracing family and friends. “Being in the pandemic, I know that is the one thing we shouldn’t do, but that’s the one thing that I want to do,” she says.