Filipino nurse friends survive their own battles against coronavirus

NEW JERSEY — Filipino-American nurse Joey Yambao was among the nurses honored as heroes in the fight against COVID-19 by his supervisor at the Holy Name Medical Center, one of the premier hospitals in New Jersey.

But this nurse ended up fighting for his life.

The 2019 nursing graduate was working on the frontlines when he felt the symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19.

The 23-year-old ended up with pneumonia at the ICU of the very same hospital where he works at.

After he was placed on the experimental drug Kevzara and received hydroxychloroquine, zithromax and zinc treatment, he survived.

Yambao has since been recovering at home.

Yambao said he can’t wait until he is fully healed so he can go back to work and fight the virus together with his amazing team.

“When one fights, we all fight,” he said.

Krystle Ann Batong was working at the Teaneck Hospital — the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in New Jersey — when she first heard her friend tested positive for COVID-19.

“I have not taken care of COVID 19 patients yet, I stayed on my floor which continued to be a clean unit and we take care of patients who are not COVID 19 positives but are still sick with other things.”

Despite all the physical distancing protocols and protective devices, Batong tested positive for COVID-19 recently as well.

Being generally healthy and without any underlying conditions, her body managed to fight off the virus.

And it helped that she has a friend who totally understands what she’s going through.

“When joey found out that I was sick. He was also texting me back and asked me how I was feeling and he was making sure that I kept on top of all of my symptoms and made sure nothing progress any worse.”

To this day, medical experts are still trying to figure out how people with the same COVID-19 symptoms end up with different outcomes – others recover, while others don’t.

“This pandemic is the test of one of the great commandments — to love thy neighbor and we are being tested with our selfishness, we need to turn it around and show people that we are selfless and we can be selfless.”

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