After battling the coronavirus for nine days on a ventilator inside the Intensive Care Unit at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, beloved Detroit Pistons scout Maury Hanks has been released from the hospital and is resting comfortably at home, CBS Sports confirmed on Saturday.
The 57-year-old Hanks was taken by ambulance to the ICU on March 23. Just 24 hours earlier, he’d hardly had any symptoms. Just general fatigue. His condition spiraled very quickly. On Wednesday, after failing to keep his oxygen levels high enough on his own one day prior, Hanks was finally taken off the ventilator, and shortly thereafter he was able to be removed from an oxygen mask entirely.
“We are lucky enough to have a happy ending,” Maury’s wife, Susan Hanks, texted on Saturday.
Last Thursday, Hanks’ condition had grown dire enough for his physician to order an emergency shipment of an experimental drug called lenzilumab (lenz, for short), which is close to entering Phase III of FDA testing, for potential “compassionate use,” CBS can report.
Compassionate use is reserved for scenarios in which all other options with FDA approved drugs — of which there are currently none that treat coronavirus — have been exhausted. In such situations, a physician can submit a request for emergency use of a drug that has not been fully approved, and both the physician and the patient (or their family) have to be informed of the risks and sign off for the treatment to be administered.
Lenz is rapidly becoming one of those drugs being considered, and ordered, for compassionate use. With support from some of the leading hospitals and testing centers in the world, there is optimism that this drug — which has been in development for nearly three years to treat conditions such as asthma, certain kinds of cancers and even rheumatoid arthritis — could potentially come to market and help ultimately put a lid on the worst-case scenarios of the coronavirus pandemic.
The hope all along was that Maury would not need this drug, and that wound up being the case. But Susan wanted his physicians to have it at their disposal just in case.
In the meantime, in the days Maury was on the ventilator, Susan, unable to see her husband, had begun reading Maury all the texts and well wishes that had come pouring in from the NBA community. The nurses would put the phone to Maury’s ear, or fit him with earbuds so Susan could call in, even though he was unconscious.
“You never know what someone can hear,” Susan told CBS Sports. “I know [Maury’s] worked in the basketball business a long time, but I really had no idea how many friends that we have,” Susan said. “The number of people that have been reaching out is honestly mind-blowing. If he makes it through this, I don’t think he’ll ever be able to thank everyone that has called and checked up on him. It’s just been unbelievable. The NBA family has shown up for Maury like I never could’ve imagined.”
Hanks will now self-quarantine for two weeks in his home as his full recovery hopefully continues to move in a positive direction.