UAMS Medical Center Discharges Its 1,000th COVID-19 Patient

By Ben Boulden

Kent, who works as a senior enterprise operations administrator in UAMS Information Technology, had been a Medical Center patient for five days.

With Chancellor Cam Patterson guiding his wheelchair, Kent makes his way through dozens of celebrants wishing him well.

With Chancellor Cam Patterson guiding his wheelchair, Kent makes his way through dozens of celebrants wishing him well.Evan Lewis

“I’m very excited to be going home,” Kent said as he was about to climb into the passenger seat of a waiting car. “They took amazing care of me. I was surprised by how sick I got and how quickly I got that sick, but they did a great job taking care of me. I think one of the biggest things was the experimental treatment, remdesivir. The nurses were just amazing.”

Remdesivir is an antiviral medication administered by injection that has been used to treat some COVID-19 patients.

“We all know Michael. He’s a wonderful gentleman,” Patterson said. “He does so much for our IT team here. To see him leave the hospital safely, it’s why we signed up for this.”

UAMS Medical Center CEO Steppe Mette, M.D., also was on hand, along with several dozen of the university’s health care professionals to see that Kent made his exit safely with warm smiles. One nurse held a handwritten sign that read: “You Crushed COVID.”

Both Patterson and Mette commended them for the care they gave to Kent that led to his recovery.

“It’s emblematic on this fourth day of the New Year to see our 1,000th patient successfully leave the hospital,” Mette said. “It’s a great day for UAMS, for Mike and for our care team who take care of patients every day. Our team is really spectacular and have risen to the occasion. They know how to take care of patients who are really sick, including COVID patients.”

Franklin Gray Jr., M.D., was the UAMS hospitalist who helped oversee Kent’s patient care.

On March 13, the Medical Center admitted its first COVID-19 patient, a 30 year-old man who was discharged later that month after spending several days on a ventilator. Clinical knowledge of the best ways to treat the disease has advanced greatly since that time. Recently, several vaccines have been developed to protect against the virus.

Michael Kent prepares to be driven home after being successfully discharged from UAMS Medical Center after being treated for COVID-19.

Michael Kent prepares to be driven home from UAMS Medical Center after being successfully treated for COVID-19 and discharged.Evan Lewis

“We have learned how to fight this virus,” Patterson said. “We have great therapies and a team of caregivers who handle these patients every day. At the same time, it’s scary that 1,000 people have gotten sick enough to be admitted to UAMS. We can’t get this pandemic over quick enough.”

The chancellor said about 4,000 UAMS employees have received the first dose of the two-dose vaccine preventative treatment, and many will receive their second dose this week.

“The vaccine is being distributed, particularly to frontline caregivers, people who are rolling up their shirt sleeves for shots without any complications,” Patterson said. “We need to make sure when it’s everybody’s turn to get a shot they do the same thing: Roll up their shirt sleeves and get the shot.”