NYC Hospital Charmed by Oldest Patient Ever

Helen Duffy surprised doctors by making a full recovery at 105.

April 30, 2014— -- Helen Duffy became a Manhattan hospital's oldest patient ever when she went to the emergency room with pneumonia -- the same disease that nearly killed her 96 years ago.

The 105-year-old great-grandmother of seven recovered and has since returned home, having charmed the staff at NYU Langone Medical Center as only a former philanthropist and politician’s wife could, her son said.

“She spent much of her life helping my father,” said Duffy's 72-year-old son, semi-retired New York lawyer Edmund Duffy. “So when she gets into the hospital, she turns into her usual most-charming self.”

Read about NYU Langone’s tiniest patient, a baby born four months early named Faith.

Duffy, a lifelong New Yorker, was born in 1908, and had another serious bout with pneumonia when she was 10 years old, her son said.

“They really thought she wasn’t going to make it,” Edmund Duffy said.

But she survived in 1918, and now she's done it again.

She married Thomas Duffy in 1938. He became a state assemblyman, state senator and civil court judge over the course of his career. They had three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Duffy surprised hospital employees because she only takes one pill a day: a low dose blood pressure medication, Edmund Duffy said.

“By the time that she left, she had the nurses and the caregivers and the doctors all kind of amazed,” Edmund Duffy said. “We’re very blessed to have her.”