By Joshua Huff, sports editor
BIRMINGHAM — East Alabama Medical Center has received several much-needed ventilators this week thanks to the Jefferson State Community College Respiratory Therapy Program.
The donated ventilators were used in simulated healthcare laboratories within the therapy program, but they are the same as those used in real-life practices, the college said in a statement.
“Jefferson State is here to assist our community and state as a whole, particularly in crises like this,” Jefferson State President Keith Brown said. “It takes all of us working together and we are pleased to provide ventilators to support our healthcare workers and help those affected by the coronavirus.”
This follows the news that Alabama was left without a ventilator stockpile following the state purchasing 80 ventilators more than a decade ago to combat the threat of a potential influenza pandemic, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Those ventilators have since gone bad.
Jefferson State Community College’s donation to East Alabama Medical Center comes as the hospital celebrates its first coronavirus patient to recover well enough to be removed from ventilation and the ICU and into a regular medical room.
Tony Thornton, 48, was admitted to the medical center on March 20 and became the first coronavirus patient to be placed on a ventilator. That ventilator was removed this past Sunday. He left the ICU on Tuesday.
A celebration took place at EAMC today. That’s when 48-year-old Tony Thornton became the first COVID-19 patient at EAMC to recover well enough to be removed from ventilation and moved from the ICU to a regular medical room. Thornton, who lives in Auburn, was admitted to EAMC on March 20 and intubated (put on a ventilator). He was extubated (removed from his ventilator) on Sunday (April 5), and when he was wheeled out of the ICU today, EAMC employees were there to cheer him on. Late this afternoon, he said “I am still weak, but feeling pretty good. I talked to my wife for the first time and that was wonderful.” His advice for the public? “People need to follow the guidelines. This is a big deal.” In addition to Mr. Thornton being able to move out of ICU, 29 other hospitalized COVID-19 patients have been discharged home from EAMC.
Posted by East Alabama Medical Center on Tuesday, April 7, 2020