Kentucky COVID patient returns home after six-month battle, double-lung transplant

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Posted at 11:22 PM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 23:25:13-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After more than six months in hospital and rehabilitation facilities for a Covid-19 infection, a Kentucky man is about to go home. Victor Gonzalez-Villatoro first went to the hospital in Taylor County on September 13.

"When I got the test and it was positive, I didn't feel sick," he said. 'A couple of days later, I started feeling… I said 'uh oh, that's not good.'

On September 26, Gonzalez-Villatoro had to be flown to UK Hospital. He went into ECMO treatment and was unconscious for months.

"When I was sleeping, and I dreamed a lot of things, I wanted to see my family. My kids, wife, my parents," he said.

For his wife, Kerrie, it's been a long road, too.

"Probably the day they told me that he was not going to make it was probably the hardest day for me," she said.

Doctors found he would be a candidate for a double-lung transplant. He had the 12-hour surgery from March 1 to 2 and was finally sent to rehabilitation at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital on March 23.

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"He is really a true fighter in his journey. I'm proud of him," said Joe Townsend, one of the physical therapy assistants who worked with Gonzalez-Villatoro.

Tomorrow, Gonzalez-Villatoro will leave the facility, finally heading back home. They know it this was never a sure thing. It took a lot of diligent work from his caretakers and a lot of faith and grit.

"I never gave up. I told them I would never give up, because I know he has the fighting spirit. He just needed time," Kerrie said.

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Gonzalez-Villatoro said that fighting spirit is what could help other Covid patients make it through their battles.

"Don't give up. They fight because they think like me, they have family. Everybody has family, so fight until the end," he said.