A new documentary, produced by Blueline Media, follows the journey of Jeri Hall—Monroe Hospital’s first COVID-19 patient—who made an unexpected recovery after being given a 1% chance of survival.
“Jeri did not have a mild case of COVID-19,” explains Tom Whitehead, director of marketing and business development at the hospital. “She was extremely sick. She survived through excellent care by the providers and staff from Monroe Hospital and through sheer determination. Jeri is a survivor.”
The documentary, titled Time to Heal, explains how Hall, a farmer, experienced symptoms including fever and shortness of breath before driving herself to the hospital.
“There is a lot of press about the effects of COVID, the statistics, and the political implementations of it all. This is a story of survival, of hope,” Whitehead says. “It is a portrait of an experience of one patient and how a whole hospital came together to care for her.”
Aware of the difficulties that many families faced due to the virus, Whitehead had already considered the idea of creating a documentary about COVID-19 when Hall was admitted to Monroe Hospital. She wouldn’t return home for more than two months.
“I wanted to show what it was like in a hospital that was dealing with the pandemic,” Whitehead explains. “That it was very real and the changes that needed to be made.”
In caring for Hall, the staff at Monroe Hospital were forced to adapt while health care professionals from around the world learned more about fighting the virus.
“Each day, information seemed to be changing,” explains Whitehead. “PPE [personal protective equipment] was getting hard to find and we were changing the way we were dealing with our patients both in the hospital and our outpatient clinics.”
Whitehead refers to Monroe Hospital as a “small hospital with a big heart.”
“We felt it was important that people saw the challenges that a smaller hospital faced during the pandemic,” he says.