A prominent Kentucky infectious disease specialist who was hailed by the governor as a “front line hero” has died after a nearly four-month battle against COVID-19.
Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, who tested positive for the virus on May 13, died on Friday night, Med Center Health in Bowling Green says. Gov. Andy Beshear tweeted Saturday that he was “heartbroken” to hear of her death and urged people to follow her advice and “wear a mask in her honor.”
Connie Smith, president and CEO of Med Center Health, said Shadowen “will forever be remembered as a nationally recognized expert who provided the very best care for our patients and community. She was a dear friend to many.”
Before contracting the virus, Shadowen led Med Center Health’s work in National Institute of Health trials of patients’ treatment for the virus, according to media reports.
Shadowen had said she believed she contracted the virus after an elderly family member received care at home from an infected caregiver.
“COVID-19 does not discriminate in its ability to penetrate our homes and communities,” Shadowen said when announcing in the spring that she had tested positive for the virus.
While battling the virus, she surprised members of the Bowling Green–Warren County Coronavirus Workgroup by joining in a conference call, telling the group: “It’s a great day to be alive.” She stressed the importance of wearing a mask in public.
In his social media tribute Saturday, Beshear referred to Shadowen as a “front line hero who worked tirelessly to protect the lives of others.”