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Doctor credits UHS team with saving her life

April 17, 2020

COVID-19 hit very hard for Shelly Stradley, DO, a former UHS primary care physician now in practice with New York State Disability.

Dr. Stradley was hospitalized with the virus for nearly a month, fighting for her life on a ventilator at UHS Wilson Medical Center.

She recovered and, on April 17, was discharged home, without even having to be on oxygen.

She left the medical center amid cheers and applause from the staff who took care of her.

“This is a miracle for me,” she said. “The staff must get their due for caring for me here and keeping me alive. They have been just phenomenal.”

Dr. Stradley, who also suffers from lupus, an underlying autoimmune disease, said she is thrilled to have survived COVID-19 and to be going home to her husband Tom Perry and their teenage son, Zander.

“If I could do jumping jacks, I’d do 20 of them right now,” she said.

Her ordeal began March 20 when she was diagnosed with the coronavirus and intubated within a few hours of admission to UHS Wilson.

The virus proved to be a harrowing experience for her, but she credits the clinical team at the medical center with providing the care that saved her life.

“Everyone kept me alive,” she said. “I can’t say enough for the whole intensivist team, the doctors, nurses, Jason in ICU who helped me take my first steps again—everyone.”

She said frontline healthcare workers deserve all the respect they are getting throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“We need to remember that all of these people are working to keep patients alive, and often they’re separated or quarantined from their own families,” she said. “I don’t think we say thank you enough to the families of healthcare workers, who endure a lot every day.”

Dr. Stradley is a graduate of the UHS Medical Residency Program who practiced at UHS’ primary care sites at Vestal and Deposit before transferring recently to become a physician with the state disability service.

She said that a network of family and friends helped give her the support and strength she needed to survive the virus and recover.

“My husband is with the Union Volunteer Emergency Squad, and they have been so supportive,” she noted. “Also our family is very into hockey, and our hockey family has been there for us.”

Dr. Stradley recommends that everyone take the experts’ advice about COVID-19 very seriously, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and washing hands.

And, if a person isn’t feeling well, they should seek care immediately.

She also believes that it’s important to keep a positive outlook and count one’s blessings when going through an ordeal like a COVID-19 infection.

She noted: “My sister Sue told me throughout all of this to keep saying every morning, ‘It’s a new day and I’m alive.’”