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75-year-old grandmother leaves hospital after beating COVID-19: 'I'm going home'

ABC News logo ABC News 4/30/2020

Video provided by Reuters

It was a sunny and gloriously raucous day outside Mount Sinai Queens hospital in New York as doctors and nurses poured onto the sidewalks to cheer the release of COVID-19 survivor Sonia Atieh.

"Here she comes," one staffer yelled as everyone cheered and waved balloons. "Here she comes."

Sonia Atieh, 75, was wheeled out of the hospital Tuesday after being hospitalized for nearly two-and-a-half weeks. Even cars passing by stopped to honk and participate in the celebration for Atieh, who is from the Woodside neighborhood of Queens, New York.

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"Thanks for everybody that saved my life," Atieh said in a video diary Tuesday, which the hospital shared with ABC News. "I'm going home today. ... I thank all the doctors, the nurses, everybody here, they're excellent."

Atieh was transferred to the hospital on April 9 after from a rehabilitation center where she was recovering from a broken hip. When she arrived to Mount Sinai Queens, the mother of two was suffering from shortness of breath and fever. She tested positive for the coronavirus and was intubated that day in the emergency room.

a person sitting on a bed: Sonia Ateh was released from the hospital to resounding applause from hospital staff on April 28, 2020, in New York City.

Sonia Ateh was released from the hospital to resounding applause from hospital staff on April 28, 2020, in New York City.
© Mount Sinai Queens

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"She could barely breathe," said Dr. Meir Cohen, an attending family medical physician at the hospital.

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Cohen said that Atieh was placed in the intensive care unit (ICU). She was on a ventilator until April 17, and she eventually left the ICU.

"Here she is. She's looking fantastic. She's about to go home with her daughter and continue to rehab her hip," Cohen said in the video diary.

Her release from the hospital on Tuesday was made even more special because it was also the sixth birthday of her youngest granddaughter.

"She's lucky to be alive," Cohen said Tuesday, "and we're very, very grateful that she's leaving here today."

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