Toma Dean had been in and out of the emergency hospital for two weeks, “very unwell” with COVID-19, when she arrived at a monoclonal antibody therapy clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday.
Dean chose to lie down on the floor of the improvised treatment center until her appointment because standing for an extended period of time left her breathless.
“My options were to remain inside and risk running out of breath and being unable to [get] the therapy, or to sit on the floor and calmly wait for the queue to clear so that I could receive the treatment I require. As a result, I opted to lie on the floor and make my way down this line “Dean said in an interview on Friday. “If I had decided to stand in line, I would have missed the therapy entirely. I would have returned to the emergency room. As a result, I lay on the floor until they arrived with wheelchairs to assist us.”
While Dean waited, another patient snapped a snapshot of her. The photograph was posted online and quickly gained popularity on social media.
The number of patients exhibiting severe symptoms prompted the city of Jacksonville to scurry to supply additional wheelchairs at antibody locations, which municipal officials acknowledged last week when asked about the photo.
Dean was waiting to be treated with Regeneron, according to organizers at the site, and Louie Lopez, who shot the photo, told that staff workers ultimately “poured” Dean into a wheelchair.
Although her appointment was scheduled at noon, Dean claimed her treatment did not conclude until 4:30 p.m., noting that it was “not a quick procedure.” However, she emphasized how friendly and sympathetic the facility’s personnel was.
“The image that is circulating online looks horrible, but they were fantastic there. The facilities were outstanding “Dean said.
Dean, who was not vaccinated, said the majority of her symptoms have subsided, but she is still experiencing shortness of breath.
“You have no idea how difficult it is to breathe. I could even tell you everything that happened 12 hours before that image was shot, how I felt and how ill I was. ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ I was telling my family. I’m resigning,’ “Dean said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a proponent of monoclonal antibodies, visiting the state in recent days to encourage people to seek treatment if they test positive, while many overburdened hospitals battled to fulfill the demands of the thousands of patients.
“The governor’s message is unmistakable. Whenever he has made a public statement on Regeneron, he has highlighted and reaffirmed the importance of early treatment for the best chance of avoiding hospitalization “On Thursday, Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary told.
“After viewing [the photo], we were all concerned for [Dean],” Pushaw continued on Friday. Dean and Pushaw both stated that a member of the governor’s office contacted out to offer assistance on Friday.
With over 17,000 COVID-19 patients hospitalized around the state, Florida’s health officials have warned that hospitals are running out of room. According to government data, less than 7% of intensive care unit beds are currently accessible statewide.
Although the site opened on Tuesday, municipal authorities informed that the number of people seeking treatment more than quadrupled on Wednesday.
Both Weesam Khoury, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Health, and Pushaw emphasized that Florida’s monoclonal antibody sites are “not overwhelmed” and that the state is “committed to delivering services to Floridians in need.”
Khoury stated that while some people do present to the locations very unwell, the policy indicates that if a patient is already in need of hospital care, teams will direct them to such services.
Dean expressed hope that her experience may assist others in attempting to safeguard themselves from the illness.
“What I hope that image accomplishes is that it inspires someone who is as ill as I was that day to get up. If they want my assistance, I will provide it “She said, “I now plan to be vaccinated as soon as I am eligible.”