HCESD 48 paramedic hospitalized due to COVID-19

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 11/15/20

Gordon Baker, a paramedic with Harris County Emergency Services District 48, is in the hospital with a serious case of COVID-19, according to a post on HCESD 48’s Facebook page. The post …

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HCESD 48 paramedic hospitalized due to COVID-19

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Gordon Baker, a paramedic with Harris County Emergency Services District 48, is in the hospital with a serious case of COVID-19, according to a post on HCESD 48’s Facebook page. The post indicated that Baker had been placed on a ventilator Nov. 6 to support his breathing.

“Gordon (Baker) has faithfully served his community over the past several years,” the post reads. “We are asking for your support and prayers not only for him, but for all of our members and all first responders and healthcare workers everywhere who continue to fight this terrible disease.”

Paramedics, along with other medical professionals, are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to their regular exposure to the virus which causes the disease while treating patients. There was no indication of how the disease may have been contracted by Baker. HCESD 48 has procedures in place to mitigate risks.

Baker was well-liked among his coworkers.

“He’s very entertaining and warm, friendly, always very social and really just a kind and generous guy. He would do anything for anybody,” said Charlie Jolley, a fellow paramedic at HCESD 48 and personal friend of Baker’s.

Jolley said Baker has been a paramedic for about 28 years and had worked in departments throughout the area prior to coming to HCESD 48.

“For 28 years, (Baker’s) been getting up in the middle of the night to go help strangers and he’s just an all-around good guy,” Jolley said.

Baker has had some setbacks prior to his run-in with COVID-19, Jolley said. About a year ago, Baker had suffered a fracture that kept him out of work for several weeks which took up all of his paid leave. Then, just as he was recovering from that, Baker had to go into the hospital to get stents put in because he had developed some cardiac issues. The stent procedure again took Baker’s leave balances down to nothing, Jolley said.

The heart and circulatory condition sets Baker as a high-risk patient according to the Centers for Disease Control. Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies are considered comorbidities, or conditions which can increase the risk for a patient suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

However, despite being intubated and having contributing conditions, Jolley said Baker’s prognosis is steady. Recently Baker underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – or ECMO – a process wherein the blood is removed from the body, hyper-oxygenated and returned to the body. As a therapy, ECMO has had benefits for COVID-19 patients and Jolley said Baker had responded well to it.

Additionally, Baker was recently moved from Houston Methodist West to the hospital system’s downtown Houston location where he is in line for clinical trials for some promising treatments, Jolley said.

In order to support their friend and coworker, HCESD 48 staff have set up a GoFundMe account to help Baker recover from lost income and the medical bills he is facing, Jolley said. The fundraiser can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/paramedic-Gordon. The hope is that Baker won’t have to rush back to work while he’s recovering from the disease and to help with the expected medical costs.

“(Contributions) have been great. Definitely above average, but you know, it is what it is. We still need to see how much the medical costs will have been in hospital, which we’ve no idea what they will be and how much he’ll be responsible for, but some of the bills we see are kind of astronomical,” Jolley said.

As of Sunday night at 7:45 p.m. the GoFundMe for Baker had raised $6,020 of its $25,000 goal. According to FairHealth.org, the average charge per hospitalized COVID-19 patient is about $73,300.

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