By Mikaela Cade, CRDAMC PAO

FORT HOOD, Texas – A Killeen man who spent several weeks in Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit left the hospital Thursday afternoon amid a host of clapping and cheering medical staff.

James Warnock, a retired Navy mechanical engineer, is CRDAMC’s first hospitalized COVID-19 patient to be released.

After battling the virus for several weeks, Warnock exited the elevators to the atrium filled with staff celebrating his victory over the illness and sending him off with well-wishes.

“It is such a good thing, to see our first COVID-19 patient go home, “Col. Richard Malish, CRDAMC commander, said. “We’re excited about his recovery. It’s a big deal for him and his family, and I am proud of the hard work of our staff.”

Everyone was enthusiastic about his recovery, and the moving staff tribute was also an acknowledgment of the importance of teamwork in the care patients with the virus.

“Our multidisciplinary team approach was important to managing this new disease process, “Maj. Amaya De La Garza chief pulmonary intensive care and respiratory services said. “Everyone from anesthesia to attending physicians to physical therapy to pharmacy to nursing came together every day to thoroughly discuss every detail of the situation and coordinate care. Multidisciplinary rounding is the standard and ensures everyone knows the entire plan allowing for better care and better patient outcomes.”

The care here at Darnall is top-notch,” Warnock said. “Everyone was really, really good and did a great job.”

With a small entourage pushing the wheelchair and a Disney character mask covering most of his face, the 76- year- old COVID-19 survivor’s joy and gratitude were evident in his smiling eyes as he waved goodbye to staff members and exited the medical center.

Mr. Warnock, joined by his wife and daughter, headed home to continue rest and recuperation.


James Warnock makes his way to a happy exit as  2nd Lt.  Eric Fongsam, a medical-surgical unit nurse, guides the wheelchair and Spec. Aimee Medina assists with carrying personal items while staff members celebrate his victory over the virus in the background. (US Army photo, Mikaela Cade, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
James Warnock waves to CRDAMC as he exits the medical center assisted by 2nd  Lt. Fongsam, a medical-surgical unit nurse, dnd Spec. Aimee Medina while staff members celebrate his victory in the background. (US Army photo, Mikaela Cade, CRDAMC Public Affairs)