After forty five days as a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, Wallace Lea left Freeman West Health System in Joplin on Wednesday to complete his recovery at home. As he left the hospital, Lea was honored with a patient going home parade. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other employees lined the hospital halls to applaud Wallace Lea for his successful battle against the novel coronavirus virus known as COVID-19.

“I’m so thrilled that he is going home,” Dr. Rob McNab, director of the Freeman COVID unit. said. “I’m thrilled he is alive. He was critically ill. I’m excited he’s going home with his health intact, and I’m confident he’ll make a full recovery.”

Although Lea is on the road to recovery, he lost two family members to COVID-19, a sister and a brother-in-law.

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2019, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers.  U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2019.  With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit