JOPLIN, Mo. — (KOAM, CNN Newsource) — After spending 45 days in a hospital, doctors feared one COVID-19 patient wouldn’t make it but is finally going home.
Wallace lea is 83 years old and he’s being called a miracle.
Hospitalist Dr. Rob McNab said, “I think about this virus. You know, this is in our community and it comes back in the fall or if it’s here forever. Any time I hear that word, I’m gonna think about Wallace Lea.”
Lea is the first COVID-19 patient admitted to freeman hospital, he was the longest staying patient they’ve had.
45 days to be exact but now he is better known as a COVID-19 survivor.
Dr. McNab said, “Would he ever get off the ventilator, you know he was on the breathing machine and asleep for 14 or 15 days, and it was a real question at times. Was he doing to improve enough to be able to get off the ventilator?”
His doctors, nurses and family were fearful of the unknown but finally reuniting after his recovery.
Relief consumed them.
Lea’s Daughter Stefani Stockam said, “We have to pinch ourselves to realize how far he’s come. And to know that one day we were told he has a really slim chance of making it and now to see him walk on his own.”
Lea’s Son Carter Lea said, “One of the things that I had told myself the whole time was that as soon as he’s out of the hospital I cant wait to just give him a big hug. It’s kind of bittersweet because I still can’t do that right at the moment, but now instead of knowing hey I hope he gets out of here and I hope I get that chance, now I know I can do it. I’ve just got to wait a little bit longer.”
A parade of hospital staff lined the halls to cheer Lea on as he walked himself out of those hospital doors.
COVID-19 Survivor Lea said, “That was special.”
He doesn’t remember much about getting sick but it was something he never imagined he would experience.
Lea said, “I realized I came mighty mighty close to death and most of them didn’t think I would make it. So to do that and be alive and be able to recover, there’s no experience like that.”
According to Lea, he couldn’t have recovered without his doctors helping him believe he could.
“Tremendous concern of Doctor McNab. He treated me the same way I’m sure he would have treated his dad and all the nurses treated me as if i were their brother. Couldn’t have been better” Lea said.
Dr. McNab said, “He walked out here to go resume his normal life. And that is, I think you used the word miracle. I think that’s the closes to a miracle as you can get.”