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70-Year-Old Black Doctor Recovers from COVID-19, Revels In Cheers by Colleagues at New Jersey Hospital

A New Jersey doctor pointed and waved as health care workers and staff at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in the city of Paterson cheered him last week in a viral video of the front-line medical professionals celebrating their colleague’s recovery from COVID-19.

Dr. James Pruden is one of at least 51,000 patients who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in New Jersey.

Dr. James Pruden is helped onto a stretcher after recovering from COVID-19 at Saint Joseph’s University Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey. (Photo: Facebook screenshot)

Staff and health care professionals displayed pure joy in a video that showed the 70-year-old emergency medicine physician, who is the director of emergency preparedness at the facility, being wheeled from his hospital room and into the crowd of medical workers. The theme song from the “Rocky” movie, “Gonna Fly Now,” blared as the medical workers clapped and waved signs in celebration of his recovery.

Pruden, a resident of Teaneck, New, Jersey, was celebrated by the Paterson community after his successful battle with the virus.

Nurse Desserie Morgan posted the video to her Facebook page writing that it was a “unbelievably proud moment.”

“Dr. Pruden discharged after beating Covid19 and his St. Joseph’s family seeing him home,” she wrote.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, who revealed on April 7 that he has tested positive for the virus, credited Pruden as a problem-solving hero in the state’s third-largest city. He said the recovery gives residents a sense of hope.

“He is a credit to our community because he has established himself as a problem-solving physician in Paterson,” he said Thursday. “His recovery and release represents a victory for everyone who is fighting this vicious virus, including me.”

Sayegh had received the test in support of an initiative that he launched with the Paterson Fire Department to find out how many police officers and firefighters had contracted the virus.

As of April 9, some 1,455 Paterson residents had tested positive for the coronavirus and 59 had died, according to city officials.

The Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermoty was inspired by the doctor’s release. Pruden’s recovery gave residents a boost, McDermoty said.

“For all of the firefighters and all the health care workers, it was a huge morale boost to see Dr. Pruden, who has helped so many people over the years, be able to get the help he needed,” he told NorthJersey.com. “He’s become a shining example that we can beat this virus.”

Fellow doctor Attiyah Zaheer said Pruden’s release was a “joyous” end after the month-long period during which he was fighting for his life.

“A joyous day for our entire hospital family as our ER physician Dr. Pruden heads home,” she tweeted Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver joined in on Wednesday celebration, tweeting Thursday that it was “great news” to hear that Pruden had bounced back.

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