Devol and Dad

Dr. Marjorie Devol and her dad, Calvin

After completing his tenure as the first male teacher at Nelsonville-York Elementary School, Calvin Devol would oftentimes ask former students when bumping into them in public if they could remember their multiplication tables.

His daughter, Dr. Marjorie Devol, recollected many fond memories of her dad, a three-war veteran who served as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy. She was inspired by him and her mother, who was a nurse, to enter into the medical field. She currently works at the Nelsonville Health Center.

During his life, Calvin was a man of many things: a soldier, a photographer, an educator, a father, a twin and friend. Calvin Devol sadly passed away from COVID-19 in January of this year at the age of 91 in his Carbon Hill home.

In Hocking County nearly 50 people have died as a result of COVID-19, and in Athens County, the death count has reached 30.

Working as a physician during a pandemic, especially one who sees firsthand the effects of the virus, can be frustrating Devol said. She often finds herself reaffirming to patients or even people in the community that the virus is real and can infect anyone.

Devol points to history when talking to her patients about COVID-19, often drawing parallels between the current pandemic and what people experienced during the Flu Epidemic of 1918, or the Spanish Flu. Though she also did that prior to the pandemic to describe the benefits of flu vaccines to her patients.

Devol stressed prevention, advising the use of face masks when entering public spaces or encountering other people. She told her patients to act as if anyone they come in contact with has been infected with the virus, and operate under the mindset that by taking safety precautions such as social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment, not only will they be protecting themselves, but also they’ll be protecting others.

Devol, who has recovered from COVID-19, noted that her prime concern while battling the virus was the possibility of exposing others to it.

The doctor underwent monoclonal antibody treatment through OhioHealth to help contain and fend off the virus. The experimental treatment may help high-risk individuals recover from the virus if administered early enough in the course of their illness. The treatment may decrease a patient’s viral load, which could lower the chance of both progression of the disease and hospitalization.

Health care professionals across the industry remain divided on the efficacy of the treatment, which was approved by The Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization. Some say there isn’t enough evidence that the treatment works, while others have hailed it as a saving grace for COVID-19 patients.

Devol said she went through the therapy after learning she tested positive for COVID-19, undergoing the infusion in order to allow her father, who was hospitalized with the virus prior to her illness, to come home. Her dad had Parkinson’s disease and required 24-hour care.

She said that the treatment caused her only the discomfort associated with the IV and fever she experienced the night of infusion, which broke the following morning. She since has recommended the infusion to some patients.

Dr. Lucy Bucher, senior director of medical affairs at OhioHealth, said the infusion allows for monoclonal antibodies to bind to the COVID-19 virus and cause it to not replicate, necessary for the survival of any virus.

Bucher also said that patients must meet a certain criteria to be considered for the infusion.

High-risk patients who are COVID-19 positive but not in need of hospitalization are the prime pool for the therapy, but patients who are pregnant or using an oxygen tank can’t undergo the treatment.

A patient can be recommended for the infusion by their health care provider, and the recommendation is forwarded to a committee of health care professionals associated with the patient’s health care network.

Dr. Bucher noted that monoclonal antibody treatment isn’t a new therapy, as it’s been used to combat the progression of other viruses.

In Calvin’s obituary, which ran in the Logan Daily News, his family urged everyone to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when they have the chance in order to spare others the loss of a loved one to the virus.

“This COVID can become a very evil disease,” she told The Athens NEWS. “Their job is to replicate; it replicates to survive.”

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