Matt went to the emergency room at Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center because he was having trouble breathing and shortness of breath.
“When I came in, I already had COVID-19, and they discovered in the emergency room that I also had pneumonia,” he shares.
While Matt didn’t remember much about his visit, his mother recalls that she could tell Matt was really scared.
“I was put on oxygen as soon as I got in the emergency room,” Matt says. “I was admitted that night and put on high flow oxygen the next day. The next day, I got even worse and had chest tubes and a vent. I was also placed on ECMO that day as well. I was on ECMO for nine days, and on day 15, I got a tracheostomy.”
He continues, “the next day, I finally woke up. On day 20 at the hospital, I came off the vent. I was then moved to step down on 3B for three days, and all my chest tubes were reviewed. Then, I was moved to rehab on the seventh floor for two weeks. I got my trach out while I was in rehab then got out of the hospital on Oct. 21.”
Matt shares that his team made both he and his family feel loved and cared for.
“We absolutely adore my whole care team!” he states. “Because of the care I received from my care team at St. Rita’s, I am able to do honestly everything! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my amazing care team. They always pushed me to do my best, and I will forever be grateful for all they have done for me and my family.”
Amanda Laird, a member of Matt’s care team, shares, “being able to provide care for a young person in our community helped me restore my commitment and focus during the pandemic. Matt’s case hit home for me as he is the same age as my sons, and I will never forget the day we placed him on ECMO and the fear I could see in his mom’s face. Now, when I pass them in the hall when he is here for check-ups, I love seeing the pure joy in her face that she has her son back.”
Jeanne Hummer, RN, who was Matt’s nurse when he was transferred to the intensive care unit adds, “to be part of this team in helping deliver ECMO care to patients like Matt is an awesome, rewarding, yet sometimes heart-wrenching feeling. I remember Dr. Cole discussing the option of ECMO with Matt and his parents and Dr. Cole saying that he would do all he could, that he would fight for Matt.”
Matt also adds, “my doctors – Dr. Sandeep Patel and Dr. Paul Castellanos – that I had check-ups with after my experience at the ER have been amazing! They are taking great care of me still.”
“Matt was an incredible patient,” Dr. Patel shares. “His will to live was beyond what we could have imagined! We were honored to be a part of his care team. When we put him on ECMO for his COVID-19 infection, we knew it would be the long haul, but he persevered. We were elated to see him move on from the experience stronger and determined to live his life to the fullest. I also wanted to say how amazing his parents and family were as they dealt with all the tribulations that Matt’s physiology caused. They stuck by their son and our team!”
This holiday season, we are celebrating by spreading the good news! Read more thankful stories, like this one, that feature our team members, patients and the wonderful communities we are blessed to serve.
Also, learn more about how Mercy Health is responding to COVID-19.