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Hospital staff treat elderly couple fighting COVID-19 to special dinner date: 'Always inseparable'

The veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and his wife were able to visit each other, hold hands, and share a bite to eat together.

Hospital staff treat elderly couple fighting COVID-19 to special dinner date: 'Always inseparable'
Cover Image Source: Facebook/HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital

The COVID-19 outbreak tore apart countless families as it unleashed its angry rampage across the globe. However, even the pandemic couldn't keep Frank Martinez and Mansako "Terry" Martinez away from each other for too long. The elderly couple — who have been married for 63 years — were recently treated to a special dinner date together by staff at the Illinois hospital where they are being treated for COVID-19. A heartwarming picture of the adorable pair holding hands struck a chord with netizens after it was posted to the hospital's Facebook page last week.


According to Fox News, 86-year-old Terry checked into HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital in O'Fallon on January 22 after she tested positive for COVID-19. Although her 93-year-old husband followed suit three days later, they ended up being treated in separate areas of the hospital. When a family member mentioned that the two are always inseparable and dependent on each other, their nurses Hannah Schlemer and Kim Presson found a way to bring the veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and his wife together. They set up a special dinner date for the couple on January 27 where they were allowed to visit each other, hold hands, and share a bite to eat.


"Colleagues at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital have seen firsthand how the safety precautions and visitor guidelines have affected patients this entire year during the pandemic. Patients Frank and Terry have been married for 63 years and are both in the hospital but in separate areas. When a family member mentioned that they are always inseparable and very dependent on each other, their nurses, Kim and Hannah, made a plan," the hospital wrote on Facebook. "The couple were treated to a special 'Dinner Date' night where they were able to see each other, hold hands and eat together for the evening. Just as they have done for so many years."

"Making special moments happen - that is why, at St. Elizabeth's, we are Called to Care," the hospital added. Speaking of the heartwarming gesture, Presson explained that the team at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s is doing everything possible to spread "a little bit of joy" during these difficult times. She also revealed that even amidst being treated for COVID-19 himself, Frank remains dedicated as ever to his wife. "[The doctor] said despite Frank’s own medical issues, his only concern is with her well-being," she said.


"Just the history of them struck a special chord for me. I know it’s hard for all our patients being here so anything we can do to bring them a little bit of joy is always important to us at St. Elizabeth’s," Presson added. Frank and Terry's love and the lengths healthcare workers go to for their patients tugged at the heartstrings of hundreds of Facebook users. "Kim and Hannah, THANK YOU!!! I have known these two love birds since the 60s. My parents were dear friends of theirs. And their family is so right. They were inseparable. They are the sweetest couple ever. Prayers for them and for all of you doing what you all do. God Bless you all," commented Chris Watson.

"Hoping Terry and Frank have a speedy recovery. Remember so much of their smiling faces and upbeat attitude when we were young in the 60s. My mom loved them so much. Best of everything," wrote Karen Civitelli. "Both of these nurses are terrific nurses and very carrying people. I worked with them both! Way to go the extra mile for your patients," commented Cathy Harms while Carolann McAfee echoed: "This is exactly what I would expect from these 2 nurses. They are rock stars!! Love this."

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