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Darnall Army Medical Center staff celebrate COVID-19 patient being released

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Posted at 9:57 AM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 10:57:31-04

FORT HOOD, TX — A Killeen man who spent several weeks in Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center's ICU left the hospital Thursday afternoon amid a host of clapping and cheering medical staff.

James Warnock, a retired Navy mechanical engineer, is CRDAMC's first hospitalized COVID-19 patient to be released.

After battling the virus for several weeks, Warnock exited the elevators to the atrium filled with staff celebrating his victory over the illness and sending him off with well-wishes.

"It is such a good thing, to see our first COVID-19 patient go home, "Col. Richard Malish, CRDAMC commander, said. "We're excited about his recovery. It's a big deal for him and his family, and I am proud of the hard work of our staff."

Everyone was enthusiastic about his recovery, and the moving staff tribute was also an acknowledgment of the importance of teamwork in the care patients with the virus.

"Our multidisciplinary team approach was important to managing this new disease process, "Maj. Amaya De La Garza chief pulmonary intensive care and respiratory services said. "Everyone from anesthesia to attending physicians to physical therapy to pharmacy to nursing came together every day to thoroughly discuss every detail of the situation and coordinate care. Multidisciplinary rounding is the standard and ensures everyone knows the entire plan allowing for better care and better patient outcomes."

The care here at Darnall is top-notch," Warnock said. "Everyone was really, really good and did a great job."

With a small entourage pushing the wheelchair and a Disney character mask covering most of his face, the septuagenarian COVID-19 survivor's joy and gratitude were evident in his smiling eyes as he waved goodbye to staff members and exited the medical center.

Mr. Warnock, joined by his wife and daughter, headed home to continue rest and recuperation.