McLeod Health Reunites Recovered COVID-19 Patient and Nurse


Two weeks after recovering from COVID-19, Shaquilla James returned to McLeod Regional Medical Center with her daughter Aubree to thank Kelly Orton, MICU nurse, for the extraordinary care she provided.

On Wednesday, May 20, McLeod Health celebrated the reunion of Shaquilla James, who recently recovered from COVID-19, and Kelly Orton, one of the nurses who cared for her.

Last month, Shaquilla, of Summerton, tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty-eight weeks pregnant at the time, Shaquilla went into labor the same day she received her diagnosis. She was taken to McLeod Health Clarendon, where she delivered her beautiful daughter, Aubree. Days later, she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Her condition continued to decline, so she was transferred to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence.

Kelly, a staff nurse in the MICU, was assigned to care for Shaquilla. As the medical team began reducing Shaquilla’s sedation to prepare for extubation, Kelly explained everything that was happening. She also gave Shaquilla a piece of paper and asked her to write down anything she needed. Shaquilla wrote, “Please don’t leave me.” Kelly stayed with her throughout the entire process.

Kelly posted family pictures in Shaquillla’s hospital room and even coordinated regular FaceTime calls with her family so she could see Aubree.

Shaquilla continued to improve and eventually made a full recovery. Her most anticipated moment came when she held her daughter for the first time two weeks after giving birth.

Shaquilla credits the medical teams at both McLeod Health Clarendon and McLeod Regional Medical Center for her happy ending.

“Shaquilla’s story is very special to all of us in MICU,” explains Kelly. “When we have difficult moments, it gives us the strength to push through.”

At the reunion, Kelly presented Shaquilla with the book, “Be You!” to read to Aubree. Inside, several MICU nurses wrote messages of encouragement.

Kelly and Shaquilla now share a unique bond, and this heartwarming reunion is a reminder of the hope and recovery that exists despite the COVID-19 pandemic.