ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands, Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — After three months spent critically ill with COVID-19, Rolly Tolentino was wheeled out of the Schneider Regional Medical Center, waving and smiling while health care providers, staff members, and VI government officials lined the halls, cheering him on. «Sam the Sailor,» a nickname that was given by Governor Albert Bryan Jr., was finally on his way home to the Philippines.
Tolentino tested positive for COVID-19 while working aboard the Maersk Shipping Company cargo ship. The vessel attempted to transport him to Puerto Rico for treatment but was denied entry by their government. The ship then sought refuge in the United States Virgin Islands and was granted entrance by Governor Bryan, allowing the critically ill seaman the ability to seek treatment at the SRMC. Tolentino said it was his faith and daily prayers after contracting COVID-19 that brought him to SRMC: «Thank God for SRMC and the Governor, they accepted me and healed me. I am blessed that the U.S. Virgin Islands did not turn their backs on me.»
The 47-year-old Philippine man’s release from SRMC came after 12 weeks of treatment at the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital’s COVID-19 unit. He also spent five weeks in a medically induced coma allowing the medical team at SRMC to provide lifesaving treatment.
During that time, Sam, the Sailor’s family members back in the Philippines, waited with bated breath, unable to catch a flight to the territory to see him in person. His relatives would check in on his progress daily via Skype to see and pray for Rolly.
Dr. Luis Amaro, Interim CEO at SRMC, said, «I can honestly say this was an emotional experience seeing Rolly being released, my heart was overjoyed. Many members of our team were in tears as we said goodbye because once you’re a patient here at SRMC, you become a part of our family. I am very proud of my team and the service they provided; this was a testament to the kind of work we are doing here at SRMC.»
Tolentino has since tested negative for COVID-19 and has been negative for several weeks now. «These people treated me so good, very kind, and very compassionate. I will never forget the SRMC and the Virgin Islands,» Tolentino said.
It was a sight to see as dozens of his new family members said goodbye to Rolly as he boarded the ambulance on his way to the Cyril E King Hospital. Rolly was holding a sign that said what everyone has come to know him as «Survivor.»
Additional footage is available upon request.
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SOURCE Schneider Regional Medical Center