Board member/benefactor becomes grateful patient

jean and roger stevenson

Roger and Jean Stevenson are longtime supporters of St. Joseph’s, but it wasn’t until COVID-19 ravaged their lives that they were personally impacted by the hospital’s 126-year-old lifesaving mission and its capacity for sharing humankindness.

The couple became infected with the virus within days of each other in early July 2020. Although both were very ill, Roger needed advanced medical intervention and was admitted to St. Joseph’s in mid-July. “Fortunately, I have little to no memory from early-July to late-August, but I do remember Dr. Bremner, Jean and family requesting my permission to place me on a ventilator,” says Roger.

“Dr. Bremner reached over and said, ‘I think I can save you.’ I will be forever grateful to Dr. Bremner for giving me hope, strength and peace, which I needed to keep me fighting. A few days later I was placed in a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator.”

Having served on St. Joseph’s Foundation Executive Board of Directors since 2015, Roger was well acquainted with Ross Bremner, MD, PhD, the executive director of Norton Thoracic Institute. Roger had also played an instrumental role in securing a $19-million gift from John and Doris Norton to establish the institute in 2014—a gift that has helped accelerate numerous advances within lung, kidney and liver transplant programs, as well as esophageal and pulmonary care and has become a formidable leader in the United States and around the world.

“During my stay in ICU, I reached a point where I thought I was going to die, and I prayed my final prayer thanking God for my life and all His blessings,” Roger continues. “God had a different plan for me. With the leadership of Dr. Bremner and the comforting, loving and skilled doctors and nurses of St. Joseph’s and Norton Thoracic, I am one of the extremely blessed to be among the fortunate ones to survive COVID- 19. Although I continue to battle the long-term effects of the virus, Jean and I and the entire family will be eternally grateful to all the caregivers at St. Joseph’s that put me on the path to healing. I could not have asked for any better care.”

“Everyone at St. Joseph’s was wonderful,” adds Jean. “I still wake up at night thinking Roger is back in the hospital, but he’s right by my side. My prayers were answered!”