Vail nurse survived COVID-19 to scale a mountain — and get vaccinated |

Vail nurse survived COVID-19 to scale a mountain — and get vaccinated

Julie Scales, lead respiratory therapist at Vail Health Hospital, left, is teary eyed as she gets a hug from her co-worker Hailey Van Duzer, right, also a respiratory therapist, after being the first one at the hospital to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on December 16, 2020.
Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post

Reaching the top of Mount Sherman, one of Colorado’s iconic 14’ers near Leadville, was long a goal for Julie Scales. She finally made the journey this summer — a trip made sweeter because she had survived COVID-19 just a few months earlier. Not only had she survived, but she survived after spending 7 days on a ventilator.

Scales, 59, is the lead respiratory therapist at Vail Health Hospital and this week became the first person at Vail Health Hospital to be administered the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is a very emotional moment for me,” Scales said. “The past 10 months have been a very long and personal journey, as it has been for all of our COVID-19 patients, healthcare staff and our entire community.”

Scales was admitted into Vail Health Hospital’s emergency department on March 14 and after just 24 hours, was moved to a Denver area hospital where she was put on a ventilator.

“It was so early in the days of the virus that it never crossed my mind that I might have it,” she said. “I had been working a lot and chalked it up to long hours at the hospital.”

Read more via The Denver Post.

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