Montana patient beats COVID-19 against all odds, as family calls it the “best Christmas ever”

Woman treated at Billings Clinic
Posted at 1:36 PM, Dec 23, 2021

BILLINGS - During this unsettling new COVID-19 wave, we want to share the latest chapter in the inspiring story of a Montana woman we've been following.

CBS News introduced you to 35-year-old Hillary Lee a couple of months ago, as she was fighting for her life. She needed a miracle to survive -- and she got it.

We first met Hillary in early October when she was on a ventilator and ECMO machine clinging to life. And her mom -- pam lee -- was praying for a miracle.

The young restaurant manager was about to get vaccinated when she got COVID-19.

"My symptoms were so mild. So, so, so mild So I can't even -- I never would have thought I would have been in that position ever,” Hillary recalled.

But two weeks later she was rushed to Billings Clinic.

"The fact we had a bed for her was nothing short of a miracle,” noted ICU nurse Kelsey Predew who was Hillary’s nurse.

The Billings Clinic was overflowing with COVID-19 patients at the time and was operating at close to 200% capacity.

"It was a huge sacrifice for us to take care of her,” Perdew recalled. “People had to pick up extra shifts to take care of her. If she didn't have that -- I am not a betting person, but I don't think she would have survived."

Hillary's family was one of those families that got really close to Predew in that time.

"I think really Pam was more there for me,” Perdew said referring to Hilllary’s mom. “I don't think she would say that, but she would come and visit in the mornings. And she would be,” Pam recalled crying. “Pam was really ministering to me.

Following seven agonizing weeks in the hospital, Hillary beat the odds answering her family's prayers. The day after Thanksgiving doctors and nurses lined the corridor as Hillary stepped out on her own.

"I knew one day we'd walk out of the hospital,” Pam said. “I just didn't know if it would be with or without her. I was great." Pam continued, “I think her brothers said it best this will be the best Christmas ever and it really will be."

It will be a Christmas to cherish.