March 1, 2021

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Extraordinary healthy

Utah ICU nurse, runner released after double-lung transplant at UF Health Shands

Jill Holker’s life changed forever when the pandemic hit Utah County where she worked as an intensive care nurse for patients battling COVID-19. 

Friday, she won her own battle. 

An avid runner with a healthy lifestyle, Holker, a nurse at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, was never a concern for being a high-risk COVID-19 patient.  As it turned out, her good habits didn’t stop the virus.

“Jill was in a condition that was the sickest of the sickest that you can see a patient,” said Andres Pelaze, a University of Florida doctor and medical director for UF Health Shands’ lung transplant program. “She could not breathe on her own.” 

Holker was diagnosed with the virus in early November and admitted to the hospital Nov. 5 in Utah. Her diagnosis was a shock and her condition worsened as her lungs deteriorated.