The morning of September 8, Dr. Chris Belardi put on his signature white scrubs, slipped on his white coat, and clipped on his hospital badge, just as he has done so many times in his career as an emergency medicine physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. But this was no ordinary day for him. Standing in his sun-drenched room on the 17th floor, it was his 164th straight day in the hospital and — as a patient who had recovered from COVID-19 — he was finally ready to go home.
With his wife, Joyce, and sons, Jess and Christian, by his side, Dr. Belardi walked out of his room to the cheers of his colleagues — the same dedicated staff who had been rooting for him since he was admitted March 28 and who supported him as he fought for his life.
“We’re really grateful for all the wonderful care,” says Joyce. “It was truly amazing — nonstop, day and night, 24 hours. It all worked.”
Dr. Belardi, who is also a clinical instructor in emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, made the day even more memorable when, to the surprise of everyone who waited for him outside NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, he walked out of the revolving doors in his scrubs. At the end of the walkway, Dr. Rahul Sharma, emergency physician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, spoke on behalf of the department, calling Dr. Belardi an inspiration and that moment “one of happiest days in all of our lives.”
“We don’t often see patients in his condition get better,” says Dr. Bradley Hayward, attending physician in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and assistant professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. “He’s a miracle who was helped by a multidisciplinary team that was with him every step of the way.”