Merlin Pambuan, an intensive care unit nurse, spent eight months in the hospital battling COVID-19 and is finally home. She was released from St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, California, this week, being applauded by the hospital staff. Panbuam, 66, has worked at the hospital for 40 years. She had insisted on making her exit without assistance of a wheelchair or walker. During treatment, she was put into a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator as part of her treatment, and has spent the last few weeks undergoing physical therapy to be able to walk again. Pambuan can’t remember the period between May and September when she was on a breathing apparatus. Her doctor said she came close to death “multiple times.”
Pambuan told other patients battling COVID-19: “Don’t lose hope.” “This is what we live for … seeing our patients going home alive and in good condition,” Dr. Maged Tanios told. Pambuan will continue recuperation from home. The hospital capacity in Long Beach is “at a breaking point,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “The COVID crisis in Long Beach is not getting better, in fact, it’s getting worse,” Garcia said Wednesday during a press briefing.