Chaplain Pastor Roberto Vizcaino prays over Resident Dr. Elyse Octave after recovering from COVID-19 at the Adventist-operated Bella Vista Hospital in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Apr. 15, 2020. Medical staff are seen joining in prayer after applauding Dr. Octave’s healing, which took three weeks at the hospital. [Photo: Juan V Ríos/Puerto Rican Union]

April 23, 2020 | Mayagüez, Puerto Rico | David Sebastian/Inter-American Division News Staff

Adventist-operated Bella Vista Adventist Hospital in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, released its first patient who recovered from COVID-19 on Apr. 15, 2020. Elyse Octave, age 40, was wheeled through the halls of the hospital after spending three weeks under the care of medical staff at the Adventist hospital. Octave, a physician doing a residency in family medicine since 2019, returned to Puerto Rico from a trip home to New York City.

Physicians, nurses and health professionals applauded Octave for his successful recovery as he was escorted out.  As he was about to leave the hospital premises, the hospital chaplain prayed for his healing.

“From the very beginning I knew that I was not going to die, because God was not going to bring me to Puerto Rico to do my residency for me to stay along the way,” said Octave. “The God I know and I follow never starts something and leaves it along the road unfinished.”

Octave expressed how thankful he is to God for His care. Octave is originally from Haiti and said: “This [experience] is one of the wonders that He has done in my life.”

Medical staff clap for Dr. Elyse Octave as he was about to be released after spending three weeks recovering from COVID-19 at Bella Vista Hospital in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Apr. 15, 2020. [Photo: Juan V Ríos/Puerto Rican Union]

According to Jorge Vera Quiñones, assistant director of Bella Vista Hospital’s family medicine residency program, Dr. Octave began presenting symptoms like fever and general discomfort. “He came to the emergency room and a Covid-19 test turned out negative but 48 hours later came back with the same symptoms and a second test revealed a positive result,” said Dr. Vera.  “I have to admit that at the beginning I felt anxious because I had to help him and the other 18 residents,” he added.

“Medicine is changing daily, and physicians all over the world are working together to find the cure for this virus…in the meantime we need to protect ourselves and that is the best gift to our family and neighbors,” Vera added.

Executive Director of Bella Vista Hospital Mara Marrero reported that the hospital is currently caring for another patient suffering from the coronavirus and other patients who have exhibited similar symptoms.  “Our hospital staff is following the careful protocol established to protect the patient and medical staff assisting them,” said Marrero.

Government figures reported in Puerto Rico that there are 1,378 positive cases of the coronavirus and 67 deaths resulted from the illness.

A group of medical doctors stand next to Dr. Elyse  Octvave as he was about to be released for the day after recovering from COVID-19 at Bella Vista Hospital, Apr. 15, 2020. [Photo: Juan V Ríos/Puerto Rican Union]

According to Marrero, Bella Vista Hospital has the capability to care for about 20 COVID-19 patients in their isolation room, in addition to a provisional room completely equipped if needed.

“The hospital is prepared to handle patients 24/7, and is licensed by the Department of Health in Puerto Rico and accredited by the Joint Commission of Hospitals, so we are prepared to manage any emergencies,” said Marrero.

Established in 1954, Bella Vista Hospital is operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and provides services to more than 20,000 patients each year. The facility has 157 beds and boasts state-of-the-art imaging, radiotherapy and rehabilitation centers, as well as a clinical laboratory, physical therapy and respiratory therapy services, a cancer institute, pediatric care, family and chaplaincy residencies and more. The hospital is part of the Bella Vista Health System which includes a policlinic and a health insurance plan.

To learn more about Bella Vista Hospital and its services, visit

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