Emory nurse’s kind gesture may have saved 92-year-old’s life during COVID-19 hospitalization

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A 92-year-old DeKalb County woman survived COVID-19 and hopes her story gives others hope.

She spent 33 days in the hospital.

A few days after she got out, she spoke with Channel 2′s Christian Jennings about what got her through.

“Home is the best medicine and I’m just very thankful to be here,” said Lalus Summers.

Summers did her hair and put on lipstick for our interview. She said she feels like her spry self again. She was released from the hospital on May 11.

The 92-year-old has come a long way since this time last month when her family feared they may never see their "Nanna" again.

“I guess I thought I was going to die. Thankfully I didn’t,” Summers said. “I was just praying that I wouldn’t.”

After developing a fever, Summers took a COVID-19 test. On April 9, the results came back positive and she was admitted to Emory University Hospital.

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“She could only last on the phone for about three minutes and she finally said, ‘Leslie, I’m just so tired. I love you,’ and she dropped the phone and that was just so scary. She was so weak,” said her granddaughter Leslie Elliott.

Summer's daughter and granddaughter said by April 13 she was given just hours to a few days to live.

“You feel very helpless. You can’t be there, you’re not face-to-face with her or the doctors or anything but she somehow rallied,” said daughter Jane Summers Going.

The family said when she was at one of her lowest points, a nurse played a YouTube video for Summers; an Andrea Bocelli performance live from Italy, knowing Summers is a lifelong lover of opera.

“It made a difference to let her remember and hold onto something other than ‘I’m in a hospital room and I have an oxygen tank,’” Elliott said.

She felt the love and embraced it and it strengthened her.

“In a time where we have seen so many suffer, and the future remains uncertain, we also stand in awe of people like Ms. Summers who still have much to teach us about resilience," Emory Dr. Raymund Dantes said.