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


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.”

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