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Trauma Surgeon Recovers from Coronavirus After a Week on Ventilator: ‘Nothing Short of a Miracle’

In what his family describes as a miracle, emergency trauma surgeon Charles Iliya has recovered from the novel coronavirus after spending a week in a medically induced coma on a ventilator.

Iliya, who has worked in the emergency department at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas for 30 years, started to feel sick on March 12 and learned he tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) about a week later, according to Good Morning America. The positive test result came one day after he was admitted into the same hospital he works in.

By March 26, his condition had deteriorated and his four adult children, Elizabeth, Paul, Catherine and Peter Iliya, said their goodbyes to him over FaceTime. Iliya had been put in a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator just three days prior.

“We were able to just tell him that we loved him and missed him so much and we were ready for him to come home,” Elizabeth told GMA. “When we were sitting there FaceTiming I didn’t know what I felt. I just wanted him to hear my voice.”

But a week later, on April 2, Iliya was taken off the ventilator and Elizabeth and her siblings were able to talk to their father again, a “miracle” she attributes to the many health care workers who helped him.

“I’m so thankful for the doctors, the nurses, all the techs and therapists who risk their lives every day to protect their patients, including my father. It’s nothing short of a miracle that he’s home with us now,” Elizabeth said. “We dedicate that miracle to them.”

On April 11, Iliya was discharged from the hospital and colleagues and family gathered around him to celebrate and pray.

“You just started hearing people cheer, and I could hear someone saying, ‘Oh, there he is,’ and he came out. It was just the most wonderful experience,” Elizabeth said of the touching moment.

“I definitely saw my dad cry, which I cannot say I’ve ever seen before in my life,” she continued. “His discharge was not only for him, but for all the health care workers that worked so diligently and tirelessly to help him and reunite him with us.”

In a video documenting his discharge, Iliya took the time to thank those that helped him.

“I just want to thank everybody. I know it took a lot of people and a lot of praying and a lot of effort, and I do appreciate it,” he said in the video. “I know that I’ve kind of been given a second chance, so I better make good use of it…I don’t think I could’ve made it without y’all.”

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  • Posted on April 21, 2020