AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)- A man from Lone Tree went home from the hospital on Tuesday after 2½ months battling coronavirus. Fabian Gonzalez Flores' stay is the longest for a COVID-19 patient at The Medical Center of Aurora.
Staff and family clapped and cheered in a lobby sendoff. It was a fitting farewell for a very familiar patient.
Fabian Gonzalez Flores, 35, left TMCA after 76 days. He had entered on April 8 with COVID-19.
"I think the worst was that I wasn't able to breathe," Fabian, who speaks Spanish, said through a remote interpreter.
He told CBS4 he was rushed from one hospital to TMCA.
"He was very sick when he came to us," said Dr. Chakradhar Kotaru, medical director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Dr. Kotaru explained that a ventilator wasn't enough to get oxygen into Fabian's blood. He needed additional life support, what's called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).
"Using a machine to do the job of the lungs," said Kotaru.
Fabian was on both a ventilator and ECMO for 35 of his 76-day stay. When he was taken off, he was scared.
"I felt everything was a dream. I felt I wasn't me. I could not remember anything at all," Fabian said.
His memory is back and he has enough energy to get him home.
"I still need to regain my strength, but that's going to be little by little every day," he said.
Dr. Kotaru said TMCA has cared for more than 300 COVID-19 patients, so far. It's a special day at the hospital when they are discharged.
"It's very heartening to see him be able to walk out of the hospital like that," said Kotaru.
Fabian drove away with a thumbs up and a heartfelt thank you.
Kotaru said Fabian survived because he was young and otherwise healthy and because of the staff of medical professionals at TMCA.
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