Local woman beats odds, discharges from hospital on her birthday



A local woman says she received the best possible birthday present on Thursday when she was discharged from the hospital without oxygen, despite several days of fighting the COVID-19 virus.


Cottondale resident Clara Deese said her son, Donald Deese, took her to the emergency room Monday, September 6, after she became concerned about symptoms which included weakness, loss of appetite, chills, and a low-grade fever.


“I was so weak I could hardly go,” said Deese. “Just absolutely weak. It took everything I could do just to move.”


Deese, who has not had the COVID-19 vaccine, stated she first began feeling ill on Saturday. By Monday, her son had driven her to the ER at Northwest Florida Community Hospital, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and began treatment, which included receiving Regeneron, a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies. 


Deese states in addition to her age being a hurdle for fighting the virus, she also has several underlying conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.


Dr. Annette Porter led DeeseÂ’s treatment and care team with assistance from APRN Nick Bass and calls her a true COVID success story, noting that itÂ’s unusual for someone with DeeseÂ’s health factors to be able to go home without supplemental oxygen.


“It’s pretty unusual nowadays for sure,” said Dr. Porter. “We have a lot of people who go home on oxygen, and for somebody with her problems and her age, there’s much more risk involved. Unfortunately, during [the pandemic], we have seen a lot more poor outcomes than we have good ones, so we want to celebrate her today since it’s her birthday and she got to go home without oxygen. That’s a major, major thing.”


Dr. Porter added that in addition to the treatment with monoclonal antibodies, one factor in the happy outcome was how quickly Deese sought medical attention.


“I can’t stress enough to everybody that our best outcomes are when they come quickly and not wait,” she said. “Come in early because when you wait, it can be like we’re up against a wall that we can’t get through.”


Deese said her plans for the next few weeks are simply “to rest,” adding that this year’s birthday gift – the gift of homecoming and health – is “just marvelous.”