LARGO, Florida – A Pinellas County man who has battled COVID-19 for more than two months returns to the hospital to meet the health care workers who saved him.
Casey Gray, 28, was admitted to Largo Medical Center on July 5th. He tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, and difficulty breathing.
He suffered from severe shortness of breath.
Gray said he didn’t remember much about his hospital stay.
“I was sedated and that’s the last thing I remember,” said Gray.
Gray was placed on a ventilator. He also needed extra life support and was put on ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation). Blood is pumped outside of your body to a machine that removes carbon dioxide and directs oxygen-filled blood back into your body.
“We started ECMO with success, but as his disease progressed … his lungs continued to deteriorate to the point where the lungs were basically doing nothing at all. At that point we decided to put a second We had two machines in use at the same time, “said Dr. Christiano Caldeira, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Largo Medical Center.
On Tuesday, the doctors showed Gray the machine with which he could save his life. He also met the doctors and nurses who took care of him.
“I’ve been blessed. I know that not everyone gets a different chance than me. I just know that I have a good God, good family, and good friends who have prayed for me,” said Gray.
It took Gray convalescent plasma and two weeks of rehabilitation to regain strength. He was released from the hospital in mid-September.
“People who didn’t even know me have prayed for me all over the world. I mean, people in South America, South Asia, everywhere, have prayed for me. It was really overwhelming,” Gray said.
Gray doesn’t know how he got infected with the virus but does encourage people to wear a mask.
“I was pretty relaxed about wearing masks before and was hard to tell where I got it from,” he said.
He said he was feeling much better but tired easily.
“I feel really good. Some days I feel really strong,” he said.
“I am so grateful for all of the medical staff that have looked after me. They have given me back my life. You have given me another chance with my wife, another change with my family,” added Gray.