Patient Stories

Giving Stories

Betty Knouse

The spirit to win: Courageous COVID patient battles virus, discharged from hospital after more than 30 days

Betty Knouse

Mount Nittany Medical Center staff cheer on Betty Knouse as she is discharged after spending more than 30 days hospitalized with COVID-19.

When Betty Knouse couldn’t shake what she and her doctor first believed to be a nagging sinus infection, she never imagined that she would eventually test positive for COVID-19. Now, more than 30 days after being hospitalized with the virus, the 89-year-old Port Matilda woman packed her bags and headed home. Knouse was discharged this week from Mount Nittany Medical Center.

“I knew I could fight this and win,” says Knouse. “You just have to have faith. God will heal you.”

Knouse isn’t the only one who had faith in her ability to successfully battle coronavirus. Peter Thomas, DO, Mount Nittany Physician Group hospitalist program, says Knouse had a fighting spirit from the very beginning.

“We made a pact,” Dr. Thomas shares. “We promised to support Betty in everything that she needed to heal, and she promised to work as hard as she could to get better.”

“Everyone here has been wonderful. I could go on and on about the staff,” says Knouse. “This place is a well-oiled machine. The doctors and nurses took such good care of me. Even the cafeteria would work with me every day to make sure I had something good to eat that I would enjoy.”

“Most hospitalized COVID patients spend approximately seven to 10 days as an inpatient,” says Dr. Thomas. “To be 89-years-old and spend more than 30 days recovering in the hospital is remarkable, but Betty was determined every day to get out of bed and make sure she ate to keep up her strength. She is a real fighter.”

Knouse says she’d like everyone to take steps to protect themselves and be careful not to contract the virus. “It’s serious. If you do get sick, have faith in God and be patient and listen to what your doctors tell you to do. There is hope.”

Mount Nittany Health reminds everyone that as a community, it’s critical that we continue to practice social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing a mask. Until an effective vaccine is available, these are the only measures that are effective in limiting spread of the virus. Together we can help to keep ourselves and each other safe.

“I had the support of my family and so many friends. I was on – I think – something like 22 different prayer chains,” says Knouse. “The staff here never gave up on me. They’re all so special. One good thing about this virus is that you find out there are a whole lot of wonderful people in this world.”

Brad & Brandy Wood

“I couldn’t wait to come back to Mount Nittany Medical Center for the birth of our second child." –Brandy Wood

Brad & Brandy Wood

The birth of a child is an amazing experience, but it can be scary at times.

Complications occurred during the birth of the Woods’ first child, which resulted in an emergency C-section. “The nursing staff is the key to the whole birth experience,” said Brandy. “They were all so incredible, especially Laurie Smeal. She was with me the entire time, holding my hand and assuring me that my baby and I were going to be fine. Sure enough, Avery arrived on July 25, 2008, and was perfect!”

When the Woods returned to Mount Nittany Medical Center in July 2012 for the birth of Tucker, their second child, Brandy shared that she was hoping Laurie Smeal would still be on the nursing staff. “When I saw her in the hallway, it was like seeing a long lost friend! I found out later that she came in on her day off to be there for me."

"Our second experience giving birth at Mount Nittany Medical Center was just as magical as the first. We are so thankful.”

Dolores Edwards

“Being close to home was very important to me. It is important for people to know that we have experts in heart care right here at Mount Nittany Medical Center." –Dolores Edwards

Dolores Edwards

Two days before Thanksgiving in 2008, Dolores Edwards was at home and began experiencing pain in her jaw, left arm and chest. She was having a heart attack.

Upon arrival at Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Emergency Department, Dr. Stephen Miller, the surgeon on call, made the critically important decision to prepare Dolores for cardiac services.

When she arrived in the cardiac catheterization lab, the heart alert team was already assembled in the catheterization lab and had begun assessing Dolores’ condition. The team determined that an interventional catheterization would be necessary to save Dolores’ heart and her quality of life.

Dolores was in the hospital for two days before returning home to continue her recovery. She now walks on a treadmill every morning and continues to enjoy everyday life activities, like gardening. “When I read about heart attack patients, I am reminded of the severity of the problem, but I am also reminded of the wonderful team that came to my rescue and know they will help many more people like me.”

Dolores’ experience was a success thanks to the combination of high quality, efficient care and cutting-edge medical technology.

Larry Halstead

“The staff at Mount Nittany managed to turn the trip of a lifetime gone bad into one of the most memorable experiences we had with my dad.” –Ryan Halstead

Larry Halstead

Larry Halstead and his son Ryan, both Floridians, planned to check off an item on the senior Halstead’s "bucket list" during the summer of 2010: tour six Major League baseball stadiums in the Northeastern United States.

The two planned to visit Penn State en route to a Philadelphia Phillies game, but Larry became ill from complications of stage four melanoma and was rushed to Mount Nittany Medical Center's Emergency Department.

Upon learning of the Halsteads' stadium tour, Mount Nittany Medical Center staff tried to arrange for the family to attend a State College Spikes game, but Larry was too ill, so the hospital staff brought the ballpark to him.

Larry Halstead lost his battle with cancer on September 15, 2010, but his family still keeps in touch with Mount Nittany staff. In fact, during the summer of 2012, the Tampa Bay Rays honored Larry Halstead at a baseball game at which the entire Halstead family wore their Happy Valley shirts. “We will always be grateful for the people we met at Mount Nittany Medical Center,” said Ryan.