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‘He was always positive. He was ready to fight’: COVID-19 patient spends 24 days in Dodge City hospital

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DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Coronavirus cases continue to increase in western Kansas. However, amid the rising numbers, there is hope.

Ford County has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state with nearly 1,800 confirmed cases. For those on the front lines of the pandemic, it was a challenge.

“I didn’t really know what to expect. You see everything on the news in the bigger cities what was going on, and then it actually got here, and I don’t know, it was kind of overwhelming at first, honestly,” said Morgan Salmans, ICU RN at Western Plains Medical Complex.

One patient went into the ER on April 29 after experiencing symptoms.

Arturo Leon-Ortiz would test positive for COVID-19

He would then spend 24 days in the hospital, 20 of which in the intensive care unit.

“He was always positive. He was ready to fight, I mean, he was the true definition of a fighter. He was awesome,” said Salmans.

Part of the patient’s treatment included receiving donated plasma from a former COVID-19 survivor. This was one of the many methods believed to help aid in is recovery.

“It was really really neat to see somebody that came in that was really sick and go through the different stages of the virus and getting better,” said Jennifer Holguin, respiratory therapist at Western Plains Medical Complex.

On May 22, Leon-Ortiz was discharged from the hospital

“He was smiling, and he was really happy to be able to say that he beat this and that he got to go home,” said Holguin.

That was what the team of medical staff had worked for nearly a month to see.  

“The ultimate goal is really just to help one patient out that he’ll be able to go home and enjoy the rest of his life with his family, said Raul Lastimosa, a hospitalist at Western Plains Medical Complex.

The medical workers all agreed that seeing Leon-Ortiz return home and in good health, made all their hard work worth it. 

“You see all the bad stories of oh these patients aren’t doing well and so on and so forth in the other cities, but you know we saw it firsthand that we actually did something right,” said Salmans.

That ‘something right,’ was saving a life.

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