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St. Luke’s discharges 500th COVID-19 patient

St. Luke’s University Health Network discharged its 500th covid-19 patient Friday afternoon.

Debra Kannapel, 60, of Freemansburg, left St. Luke’s Anderson Campus to the applause of staff as the Rocky theme song played over the intercom.

Among the patients St. Luke’s has discharged are many who were on ventilators. St. Luke’s has extubated about 50 patients across the Network.

“These remarkable figures reflect the lifesaving care provided by our doctors, nurses and other caregivers and the incredible innovations that have made St. Luke’s a national and international leader in the treatment of COVID-19 patients,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, St. Luke’s senior vice president of medical affairs.


annapel was admitted to the Anderson Campus hospital in Bethlehem Township on April 20 after presenting to the emergency room. Her test results – back within 90 minute – indicated she was COVID-19-positive.

St. Luke’s has developed a comprehensive medication protocol based on the best evidence available that includes high dose vitamin C, zinc, atorvastatin and steroids. The network has also developed non-invasive techniques such as high-flow nasal cannula and self-proning maneuvers, where patients spend up to 12 hours a day lying on their stomachs to help distribute oxygen more effectively in the lungs.

The St. Luke’s approach proved effective for Kannapel. Her condition improved, allowing her to avoid transfer to the intensive care unit or the assistance of a ventilator to breath.

“My experience here was fantastic, and all of the people are wonderful,” Kannapel said as she left St. Luke’s Anderson Campus to return home.

Debra Kannapel, of Freemansburg, is discharged from St. Luke's University Health Network's Anderson campus after recovering from Covid-19. Kannapel's discharge on April 24 marks the network's 500th COVID-19 discharge. See a video at tnonline.com.