COVID Patient Wakes on Day Family Was to Pull the Plug

Bettina Lerman, 69, has a long road of recovery ahead
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2021 5:35 PM CST
COVID Patient Wakes on Day Family Was to Pull the Plug
   (Getty/sudok1)

(Newser) – Doctors were certain Bettina Lerman would not wake after more than a month on a ventilator battling COVID-19 at a hospital in Portland, Maine. So her family flew to Lerman's home in Florida, canceled her lease, got rid of many of her possessions, and began planning a funeral, reports the Washington Post. They were in the midst of choosing a headstone when Andrew Lerman received the call on Oct. 29. His 69-year-old unvaccinated mother had done exactly what doctors were sure she wouldn't. "I was completely beside myself," Andrew tells the Post. "I dropped the phone because I was going to be terminating life support that day." He adds his mother recalled having visitors despite comatose.

Bettina had planned to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling to Maine to help care for Andrew's cancer-stricken father, but she "ran out of time," her son says. Before she could get the shot in Maine, Andrew, his wife, his father, and Bettina all fell ill with COVID-19. Bettina, who had diabetes and had recently undergone quadruple-bypass surgery, fared worst. She spent a week in the hospital before being put on a ventilator. WMTW reports she remained on it for 60 days. Doctors told the family that her lungs were "destroyed" and "there was no chance of survival at that point," Andrew tells the Post. They're now calling Bettina's recovery a "medical miracle," daughter Jennifer Miele, writes on GoFundMe.

Bettina still needs help breathing but she's out of the intensive care unit and doctors have raised the possibility of moving her to a rehab hospital, Andrew tells the Post. Such cases are rare but inspiring. KRON reports 31-year-old Noah Davis of San Jose, Calif., just left a hospital for the first time in nine months, two of which were spent in a medically induced coma. He couldn't breathe on his own or even move his limbs when he awoke, unaware that eight weeks had passed. But hospital staff "took care of me so well," he tells the outlet. "We don't know what the future holds" but hope "to get to a point where he could be out of the wheelchair with ongoing therapy," a doctor adds. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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