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Doctors say a woman with down syndrome nearly died from COVID-19

Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 1:35 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A miracle: that’s what doctors are calling a local woman who contracted COVID-19 last year. They didn’t expect her to live, but one year later, she left the hospital happy and healthy. Ferriday native Courtney Jenkins loves music and spending time with her family, but that all ended in Nov. 2020 when she contracted COVID-19 and was admitted to the ICU.

“She had a bad case of pneumonia and she was placed on a ventilator and she stayed on a ventilator at St. Francis Medical Center for about 3 months,” said Ja’Keshia Lard, the Willow Ridge Nursing and Rehab Respiratory Therapist.

That was the longest time Jenkins had ever spent away from her family. Born with down syndrome, a network of support is essential to her survival. Willow Ridge Nursing and Rehab Center Respiratory Therapist Ja’Keshia Lard says Jenkins’ case was complicated due to her condition.

“They didn’t think that she would eat, talk, speak because she had developed the simplex that she had to make motions with her mouth and when she heard her own voice she started crying,” she said.

The doctors were determined to save Jenkins’ life and add to her quality of life. Lard says Jenkins left rehab Saturday, Dec. 4 walking and talking for the first time in almost a year.

“I just feel so blessed. I’m so compassionate about my patients. I feel like if you’re going to be in healthcare, you have to have a compassionate heart and I treat all of the patients here like their family,” said Lard.

Jenkins was finally able to reunite with her family more than a year later. This is a gift her family is grateful for.

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