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COVID ICU Patients, Families Helping to Give Back to Baton Rouge General

BATON ROUGE, LA. – A group of families grateful to the care teams in Baton Rouge General’s COVID intensive care unit (ICU) have come together to raise funds for improvements on the unit, including brighter lighting and upgraded break rooms.

Ronnie Anderson, former head of the Louisiana Farm Bureau, was in the COVID ICU for 50 days, first arriving with COVID-19 on March 18, 2020. With his wife Vivian there to greet him, he was finally discharged from BRG after 64 days.

“We were able to visit with the ICU staff months later, as they were still continuing to fight COVID every day,” said Vivian Anderson. “We were even more compelled to do whatever we could to show our appreciation for the care and compassion they gave to us.”

Joining the Andersons for the meet-up with ICU staff were Darrel and Liz Vannoy. Darrel, a warden with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, was admitted to Baton Rouge General on Jan. 8, 2021, where he remained on a ventilator in the COVID ICU for nearly a month. Also part of the group was Dianne Sykora, who wants to help to raise money in memory of her husband Jim following 103 days in BRG’s ICU last year.

Lynn and Tom Gilmore connected with the group of grateful families to lend their support. Tom was the first COVID-19 patient admitted to BRG on March 16. In the hospital 89 days total, he was on a ventilator for 10 weeks and in a coma for eight weeks.

When COVID-19 took a foothold in south Louisiana, BRG’s ICU filled quickly, leading the hospital to create additional COVID ICUs in existing units – a process that was replicated in subsequent waves. During the height of the first surge in April 2020, the COVID ICU saw a high of 34 patients. In August 2021 with the delta variant, the COVID ICU numbers soared to 82 patients.

“For nearly two years now, the ICU team has been in the trenches as they cared for so many patients in our community with COVID-19,” said Erik Showalter, president of the Baton Rouge General Foundation. “We are grateful to these families for their passion to give back and support our team.”

With a goal of $70,000, the families are more than halfway there. To join their grateful patient project, visit and designate the gift to “ICU Special Project.”

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Baton Rouge General Medical Center is the area’s first community hospital with over 600 licensed beds between three campuses. Baton Rouge General opened its doors in 1900, and has provided the Greater Baton Rouge community with high-quality healthcare for generations. An accredited teaching hospital since 1991, Baton Rouge General is affiliated with several medical school programs, and offers other medical education programs, including a School of Nursing, School of Radiologic Technology, Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter @BRGeneral and Instagram @batonrougegeneral.