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St. Luke’s discharges 500th COVID-19 patient


St. Luke’s University Health Network discharged its 500th COVID-19 patient Friday afternoon. Debra Kannapel, 60, of Freemansburg, left St. Luke’s Anderson Campus to the applause of staff as the Rocky theme song played over the intercom. Among the patients St. Luke’s has discharged are many who were on ventilators. St. Luke’s has extubated about 50 patients across the network.

Kannapel was admitted to the Anderson Campus hospital in Bethlehem Township on April 20 after presenting to the emergency room. Her test results – back within 90 minutes – indicated she was covid-19-positive.

St. Luke’s has developed a comprehensive medication protocol based on the best evidence available that includes high dose vitamin C, zinc, atorvastatin and steroids. The network has also developed non-invasive techniques such as high-flow nasal cannula and self-proning maneuvers, where patients spend up to 12 hours a day lying on their stomachs to help distribute oxygen more effectively in the lungs. The St. Luke’s approach proved effective for Kannapel. Her condition improved, allowing her to avoid transfer to the intensive care unit or the assistance of a ventilator to breath.