Utah ICU Nurse Hospitalized, Battling COVID-19

Dec 11, 2020, 7:09 PM | Updated: 8:52 pm

LEHI, Utah – A Utah County ICU nurse, who spent most of the year treating patients with COVID-19, is now fighting the illness herself, according to a fellow ICU nurse.

“This whole year we’ve been working with COVID patients in the ICU — just the sickest of the sick,” said Holly Pike, who works at Utah Valley Hospital.

Pike set up a GoFundMe account for Jill Holker, a mother of three who was hospitalized in early November with COVID-19. Pike said she and her co-workers were shocked when one of their own needed to be admitted to their ICU floor.

“Her lungs continued to decline,” Pike said of Holker’s condition. “She just needed more and more oxygen support. She spent a few days at our hospital and then it was just determined that she needed more oxygen treatment.”

Holker is still fighting for her life over a month later.

“Her lungs are just at a point now that they aren’t really going to bounce back,” Pike explained. “They aren’t really going to recover.”

Pike said that Holker is known for her athleticism, which makes the severe illness that much more unexpected.

“She goes to the gym,” Pike said. “She can run laps around literally anybody.”

Holker was first transferred to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray for additional treatment.

“On December 6th, 2020, Jill was transferred by an air medical team to a hospital in Gainesville, Florida, that specializes in taking care of lungs as fragile as hers,” the GoFundMe description said. “The stellar team in Gainesville is working hard to come up with the best plan for our girl, but at this time she is getting prepared for a double lung transplant.”

Pike and former patients said Holker left a positive impact on everyone she treated.

“She is one of just the happiest people,” Pike said. “She gives the greatest hugs. She is just a light in everybody’s life.”

“Jill and her efforts literally saved my life at a critical time when I needed critical help the most,” said Rob Burton, who spent time in the ICU in the spring of 2017 after having surgery to remove a brain tumor.

“We will forever be grateful for her help, and her attention to many other details during my stay in the ICU that entire week that I had emergency surgery a second time,” Burton wrote in an email to KSL.

Burton said when he developed a secondary infection, it was Holker that worked quickly to contact his surgeon.

“I’m alive today because of the faith and prayers of many others, and so my plea to others out there is to pray for Jill,” Burton said.

Burton’s wife, Tiffanie, used to work at the hospital with Holker and was relieved to see a familiar face taking care of her husband in the ICU.

“She’s a very caring, loving, selfless person,” Tiffanie Burton said.

The Burtons have joined more than a thousand others who have donated to a GoFundMe for Holker and her family.

“We are grateful for everyone who has donated so far, but with this turn of events in Jill’s care, we are needing all the support we can muster,” the GoFundMe description goes on to say. “All the funds raised here go to her and her three children for basic needs and medical bills.”

*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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