Photo: CHI Memorial, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Photo Courtesy of Memorial.org
Published January 18, 2021
As Covid-19 cases continue to rise, and Hamilton County prepares for a second phase of vaccines, Blue Ridge police chief, Johnny Scearce, has finally been released from the hospital.
Scearce spent the last three months staying at CHI Memorial Hospital after being diagnosed with Covid and pneumonia. Scearce was in the hospital when he celebrated his 60th birthday and won his election bid as commissioner.
Scearce, who had to experience several medical interventions during his stay, was able to return home on January 14 to begin his rehabilitation. His wife Brenda considers it a miracle that her husband was able to come home.
She said, “Seeing him be discharged was just amazing just knowing everything he’d been through and how far he’d come. Nobody can take that away. He is a miracle, and I know it. We know it. Everybody at Memorial knows it and it was just seeing God work like that it was just, I’ll never forget it.”
Scearce had made his commissioner campaign a priority in his life during the last year, and when he did win the election he was still hospitalized. The chief normally leads a full and healthy life, making his hospitalization come as a shock to his family, as well as the Blue Ridge community.
Medical director of CHI, Dr. Jesse Tucker, said there were times that his team had little hope for Scearce’s recovery. He said it wasn’t like the other cases they had seen while working on Covid patients.
Tucker said, “It was just very gratifying for all of us to see him get better. It makes us feel really good about what we do. It makes us feel good about being able to help somebody and their family out in the community. His family really rallied for him, and so much of the credit goes to the chief and his emotional and physical strength, as well as the dedication of his family members.”
During Scearce’s prolonged hospital stay, there were times that he got worse, and other times where he appeared to be getting better. There was even talk of him possibly needing a lung transplant. However, Scearce was eventually able to pull through after several therapies, including a special life support called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
“To our knowledge, this is by far the longest we’ve ever had somebody on that particular support treatment. And then survived to leave the hospital with a really, really good functional status, I might add, it’s pretty uncommon anywhere for somebody to be as sick as he was.” Dr. Tucker said.
In light of her husband’s recovery, Brenda has asked community members in Blue Ridge and surrounding areas to continue practicing caution.
She said, “Just wait a little longer for that big gathering that you want to go to and you want to have. Protect your loved ones, your grandparents, your cousin that might have a kidney disease that you don’t even know about, you know, and just be patient. The vaccine is here. Just give it a little more time and everybody’s life can get back to normal.”