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Darell Slater with his wife and daughters.
Darell Slater with his wife and daughters. Courtesy Kim Cochran

No one expected him home for the holidays — but after 118 days in the hospital with Covid-19, Darell Slater will spend Thanksgiving with his family.

Slater, 71, was first diagnosed with Covid-19 on July 13 along with his wife, his family said. After two weeks of quarantine, she recovered but he did not.

“About a week later, after putting him on the ventilator, they told us that he was the sickest patient in the hospital … and there was nothing else they could do for him there,” said Slater’s daughter, Kim Cochran.

By August 6, he was put on ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a therapy that adds oxygen to the blood and pumps it through the body.

“They said Covid just went in like a bomb and destroyed his lungs,” Cochran said. “Two weeks later, every time they tried to remove him from ECMO he would crash immediately.”

On September 18, Slater finally tested negative for Covid-19, and he started to be slowly removed from all of the machines. He was moved to a medical rehab facility, where he would remain for the next seven weeks. Slater was wheeled out of the hospital on Friday, where his waiting family was waiting for him.

The family said they are thankful to all of the hospital staff that helped take care of their dad.

“We just want to tell the story because we don’t want anyone to give up,” Cochran said. “You just can’t give up.”

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After 118 days in the hospital with Covid-19, one man is finally home just in time for the holidays

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