Pennsylvania man begs Facebook friends to help find ICU bed for COVID-19-stricken mom

A Pennsylvania man’s desperate appeal to find an ICU to take his severely ill, COVID-19-stricken mother has gone viral.

Shawn Rider’s mom Karen contracted the coronavirus in mid-November. She was admitted to Hanover Hospital, about two hours west of Philadelphia, and had been on a ventilator since Nov. 23, her son wrote on social media.

But as her condition worsened, Karen needed an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine — a device Hanover Hospital didn’t have.


“We can’t make any promises that a hospital is available to take her to try ECMO,” a doctor told Rider.

Since the recent tide of COVID-19 rates spiking, ICU beds in Pennsylvania have been at capacity.

In a series of heartbreaking messages on his Facebook page, Rider wrote: “Is there anyone in the York Hospital, Hershey Hospital, Penn State, Temple or Maryland Hospitals that has connections to the COVID ICU? My mom is not doing well and is maxed out at Hanover Hospitals capabilities.

“We are looking for a hospital that has an ECMO machine and a bed so Hanover can transfer her to you. I’m sorry to be blunt but FB is the fastest way to get news out. Hanover Hospital is making calls, but I can’t move forward without giving it my best shot.”

MORE: Pennsylvania sets daily high with over 12,800 new COVID-19 infections

“Mom… please continue to fight. We love you so much and aren’t ready to lose you,” Rider pleaded in his Dec. 1 post.

Four hours later, a doctor from York Hospital called and facilitated a transfer the next day.

“A nurse at York Hospital saw my post and took it right to a Doctor in the COVID ICU and he immediately called my cell phone,” Rider later wrote. “I gave him Mom’s Dr’s name at Hanover and he immediately called them and Mom is being prepped for transfer as we speak to York.

Another post went into further detail about the lifesaving call.

“I get a random number calling me… a Doctor at York. He’s calm. He’s clear. He’s affirmative,” Rider wrote. “ ‘Shawn, this is Dr. Zubkus from York Hospital. Tell me about your Mom and give me her doctor’s name and phone number,’ ” Rider recalled.

A few minutes later Zubkus called Rider and said, “Shawn, we are taking her.”

“Now, THAT’S F–KING LEADERSHIP, right there ladies and gentlemen. That’s a human being who not only cares about other human beings but is confident in his abilities. That’s someone who isn’t going to pass blame to someone else and shy away from a challenge. That’s who I will always get in the corner of and that’s who my Mom needs right now,” Rider wrote.

Though Rider’s mother is still in serious condition and on a ventilator, his father was able to see her, and Rider has been able to talk to her via Zoom.

“Our family is humbled by the outpouring of support everyone has shown through our Mom’s continued fight,” he said, asking for prayers for friends who lost loved ones to COVID-19. “My Dad also has learned he lost one of his best friends to COVID-19, Jeff Cunningham. Real people. Real lives. Real virus.”



For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.


Sign up for emails from FOX 29, including our daily Good Day Digest