Elkader man discharged from hospital after battling COVID-19 for over two months

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 9:46 PM CST
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GUTTENBERG, Iowa (KCRG) - After 65 days hospitalized at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital and Clinics, 76 year old Royce Hansel can now say he has beaten COVID-19 and is going home.

“I feel so good,” he said while coming out of the hospital. “I got family at home I have not seen yet so I am ready to go.”

Hospital staff lined up in the halls and outside as Royce left the building, holding signs and balloons and taking pictures.

And one final surprise: Royce’s family, who had not seen him in over two months paraded outside the lobby to welcome him back to the outside world.

But leading Royce back to health was not an easy task according to Amy Sitzmann, who runs the respiratory care unit at (GMHC). Royce was hospitalized on November 12.

“He should have, at that time, been in critical care but we were unable to get him out due to the high influx of COVID in the area and no beds available at larger facilities,” she explained.

That is something many smaller, rural hospitals struggle with.

“We were able to get all the supplies we needed here and really persevere and were determined to take care of him and make sure that he made it through this,” Sitzmann said. “So it was days of up and down and we were not sure, but the whole staff and the patient never gave up.”

Sitzmann mentioned Royce became like family to many of the health care workers, including herself, which is why she put in extra hours to help him out.

“Critical access hospitals do not always have access to those respiratory therapists, so there were nights I would switch over to nights and I would come in and stay with Royce in his room and stay overnight to make sure he could tolerate the treatment he needed,” she explained.

Sitzmann is confident today’s success is a direct result of Royce’s fighting spirit and the hospital staff’s teamwork coming together to create the winning formula.

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