Utah coma patient reunites with nurse who had ‘angel’s voice’

May 19, 2023, 10:23 PM | Updated: 11:14 pm

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — In January 2020, Jennifer Anderton was rushed to Lakeview Hospital’s Emergency Room with COVID-19 symptoms, unaware that her journey would turn into a two-week stay. 

“I started coming down with these symptoms that I’ve never felt before,” Anderton recalled, reflecting on the onset of her illness. 

The immense pain caused by respiratory issues still lingers vividly in her mind.

“It filled my lungs with secretions, I couldn’t cough them up fast enough. I was drowning,” she said.

The severity of Anderton’s condition eventually caused her to lose consciousness, leading her into an out-of-body encounter with her own medical ordeal.

“I heard them say they could not find a pulse, and I visually watched them try to intubate me,” she said.

Placed on a ventilator in the ICU, Anderton found herself in a unique situation. She could hear the commotion around her, particularly a voice that resonated deeply within her.

“Somebody was here in my ear saying, ‘I’ve got you, you are okay,’ and someone was hugging my head so it felt like a big hug,” Jennifer said.

Little did she know that the voice belonged to a critical care ICU nurse, named Lisa Whittaker. She came to work that evening to care for patients in need as she has for the past 30 years – the past five of which have been spent at MountainStar Healthcare’s Lakeview Hospital

“I remember what Jennifer went through. I remember hugging her head and talking to her, and telling her she was going to make it,” Whittaker said.

Whittaker sat by Anderton’s side reassuring her that she would make it. 

“I’m happy that I was able to be there for her when she needed somebody the most,” she said.

Anderton, who is also a traveling nurse, recovered and was discharged from the hospital on January 31, 2020, without knowing Whittaker’s name. 

This week the two were able to reunite after three years at Lakeview Hospital. Anderton expressed her gratitude for the encouragement that kept her going, even when she had no knowledge of the person behind the soothing voice that uplifted her spirit.

“I didn’t even need to meet her to know that because it’s just her physical touch and how she treated me meant a lot. That meant a lot to me,” she said.

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Utah coma patient reunites with nurse who had ‘angel’s voice’