Leaving hospital after 47 days, Lowcountry patient urges others to ‘take this virus seriously’


BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – Beaufort Memorial Hospital says there was a “surge” in COVID-19 cases six weeks ago but on Tuesday, the last patient was finally able to leave the hospital.

Laverne Williams had her people behind her as she was discharged.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital doctors and nurses stood and cheered as Williams was wheeled down the hall, the first step to going home.

Their signs said it all: “Hero,” “hard work and dedication pay off” and “we love you.”

“I’m blessed to be here,” said Williams. “I just thank all the Beaufort staff. They were awesome. Awesome. I couldn’t have done it without them. They are my angels.”

She spent 47 days at the hospital; 28 of those on a ventilator.

“I just can’t believe I’m going home,” said Laverne, tearing up in the hallway of Beaufort Memorial.

“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have made it this far because they inspired me,” said Williams. “They had that good energy.”

Indeed, Williams needed that good energy. Her mother died while she was on the ventilator.

“That’s the hardest part is me going home and not having my mom,” she said.

“I didn’t find out until two weeks afterward and they had had a memorial and everything,” Williams explained.

But the now-former COVID-19 patient is doing her best to stay positive. Williams says she’s happy to go home and be with her husband, who only had one word to describe his feelings on this day.

“Awesome, awesome,” he said.

It’s the beginning of a new chapter for the large, excited Hampton County family — one Williams says now includes all of the doctors and nurses who helped her.

“They put up with me when I had my attitude and everything,” Williams smiled, “because I was a piece of work at times.”

“When I came off the vent I was really mean. But I apologized to everybody,” she said. “I called up the ICU on Mother’s Day and wished them Happy Mother’s Day, and apologized.

“I am leaving here with a clear conscience.”

But William’s conscience wouldn’t let her leave without one more message to anyone out there who thinks COVID-19 is “no big deal.”

“I might as well tell you the truth, I’m still scared. I’m still afraid,” she said.

“I am begging everybody: please take this virus seriously because it is for real and I lived it,” Williams said. “Your family couldn’t see you for 47 days and they don’t know if you are going to live or not.”

“I don’t want anyone to have to live through that,” she continued. “I don’t want anyone to have to have a graveside service for their loved ones.”

Doctors say Williams’ biggest challenge will be building up strength, especially in her legs, so she can walk normally again.

Williams says her goal is to walk right back to Beaufort Memorial, this time to say “thank you” again to the doctors and nurses, the people she calls her “angels” who saved her.

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