Coronavirus patient credits remdesivir drug for saving his life

Broward County man was part of clinical trial at Memorial Regional Hospital

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Benjamin Broomfield is a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who loves music.

That music stopped when, as a result of COVID-19, he went from 105-degree fever to ventilator to medically induced coma.

He says a life-saving decision made at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood is the only reason he’s back home now.

Broomfield, 66 of Dania Beach, was given remdesivir, an antiviral drug from the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences that is being tested as a COVID-19 treatment through clinical trials at certain hospitals.

Five days after his first dose, Broomfield was off the ventilator. About 10 days after that, he was on his way home.

It was April 6 when Broomfield was rushed to the hospital. “I tell people, it’s like the day the earth stood still,” he says.

“He was going down fast,” his sister Carol Guidoni recalls.

Guidoni says that on April 12 — Easter Sunday, which was also her brother’s 46th wedding anniversary — Broomfield got his first dose of remdesivir.

“Immediately, the doctor saw improvement,” she says. “It was a miracle.”

Broomfield rolled out of Memorial Regional last week to a round of applause.

Studies show that advanced COVID-19 patients who got infusions of remdesivir recovered faster than patients who got a placebo. Mortality rates compared with those who did not take the drug were about the same, though.

Dr. Paula Eckardt, chief of infectious disease at Memorial Healthcare System, says the hospital applied to be a part of remdesivir clinical trials, supported by the National Institutes of Health and Gilead.

It’s also available at Aventura Hospital and Mount Sinai in Miami Beach as part of the clinical trials, according to the drug company.

And last week the Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the drug for patients severely ill with COVID-19, which means more of the drug could be shipped out to other hospitals across the country.

Gilead says it will be donating more than a million doses.

Says Broomfield: “If it wasn’t for the drug, I don’t think we’d be talking right now.”

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