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Nebraska’s first coronavirus patient endured tough journey | Health and Fitness

After Hutchinson was sent home to continue her recovery on April 4, she continued to use a feeding tube as an added precaution. “Fred” was mounted on a steel pole with wheels so she could move around.

Her father became her nurse and attendant, crushing pills twice a day every day, mixing them with fluid, then injecting them with a syringe into the tube.

“She always said, ‘Dad, you’re doing it too fast.’ She could feel it into her throat,” said Ralph Hutchinson, whose first wife, now deceased, had taken in Emma as a foster child at age 2.

She was among the 1,063 critically ill COVID-19 patients across the globe who were enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial of the drug remdesivir, an antiviral medicine that had been used on Ebola patients. Because it was a blind study, neither the Hutchinsons nor Emma’s doctor were told whether she received the drug or a placebo.

Boer said personnel at Nebraska Medicine had their suspicions about who received remdesivir and who didn’t, based on patients who seemed to recover faster than others.

But he said the recovery of Emma Hutchinson, from near death, wasn’t due to some “miracle” drug but rather to “evidence-based, supportive care” like that given to people with severe cases of flu. That’s sticking to the basics, he said, and not trying unproven therapies outside of controlled trials, like hydroxychloroquine, that more often than not make things worse.


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