For Immediate Release July 01, 2020

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Michael Schwartzberg:

COVID-19 RESPONSE

Man Recovering At Home Following One-Month Stay at UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center; Two Daughters Also Tested Positive

Since early March, University of Maryland Medical System hospitals have been treating hundreds of COVID-19 positive patients, providing the very best care possible for individuals battling this disease. Recently, UMMS discharged its 1,000th COVID-positive patient to home, marking a significant milestone in the System's response to this pandemic.

After being cared for at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center for 31 days, Steve Nicewarner is now recovering at his Elkridge home in Howard County with his wife and two grown daughters.

"I'm thankful that God brought me through this ordeal and for being able to come home to be with my family," said the 57-year-old federal government employee. "I'm also thankful for all the prayers and for the support of our friends and family.” The Nicewarner family credits the UMBWMC care team, friends and family, and their faith community at Lighthouse Church in Glen Burnie for their support.

Steven Nicewarner was home ill for a week prior to his family taking him to the hospital; he developed a fever on May 17th, tested positive the next day, and was taken to the hospital on May 24th as his condition worsened. Nicewarner was on a ventilator for 10 days, had to be proned – a medical procedure where he was flipped onto his stomach in order to better oxygenate his lungs, and lost part of his memory and couldn't remember being taken to the hospital.

"It was very hard not to have eyes on Steve," said his wife, Cindy Nicewarner. "The hardest part for us was knowing he was in the hospital, going through some very scary things and was feeling all alone." Before he was put on a ventilator, the family was able to text and talk via cell phone, and utilized the hospital's Virtual Patient Connect service to communicate via a tablet in his room, with the assistance of a nurse because Steve could only mouth words and use hand motions.

Johnna Nicewarner, at 25 the family's youngest child, is an Emergency Department nurse at UMBWMC and also tested positive, as did her 31-year-old sister, Jenny Nicewarner, a third-grade teacher in Anne Arundel County. The family's middle child, 28-year-old Rob Nicewarner, is working on his doctorate in West Virginia; while he did not get the disease, he was also impacted as his May 9th wedding was postponed due to COVID-19.

"We are deeply honored to have helped more than one thousand patients across the state recover from COVID," said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Maryland Medical System. "These discharges are an acknowledgement of the selfless work and continuing commitment and dedication of our heroic staff across the System, those who work on the frontlines providing outstanding care as well as those who work behind the scenes. We also think about, and keep in our collective memory, those who COVID took from us."

"Mr. Nicewarner was critically ill for several weeks, and our interdisciplinary care team utilized advanced care therapies in his treatment," said Peter P. Olivieri, MD, a pulmonary & critical care physician who was a member of the patient's care team at UMBWMC. "It was a wonderful feeling to see him recover and be discharged after a long and, at times, challenging hospital stay."

"We have been very moved by the outpouring of love and support evidenced in so many ways from messages to meals and everything in between," Cindy Nicewarner said. "We are surrounded by love and comfort during this journey and are so grateful for all who have lifted us up by walking with us. Many of these people we don't even know. Steve was added to so many church prayer chains all over. So our story is a testimony of love—of God's love for us and for the love we share for one another."

"We feel so very grateful to God for sparing his life," she added, noting that when her husband is fully recovered, the family is most looking forward to taking a vacation together.

Editor's Note: Photos of Steven Nicewarner in the hospital and a video taken by the family of his discharge from the hospital are available for media use.

About the University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is a university-based regional health care system focused on serving the health care needs of Maryland, bringing innovation, discovery and research to the care we provide and educating the state's future physician and health care professionals through our partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the UM Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Dentistry in Baltimore. As one of the largest private employers in the State, the health system's 28,000 employees and 4,000 affiliated physicians provide primary and specialty care in more than 150 locations and at 13 hospitals. UMMS' flagship academic campus, the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore is partnered with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is recognized regionally and nationally for excellence and innovation in specialized care. Our acute care and specialty rehabilitation hospitals serve urban, suburban and rural communities and are located in 13 counties across the State. In addition, UMMS operates health insurance plans serving Medicare and Medicaid members. For more information, visit umms.org.

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