Man beats the odds after 30 days on a ventilator fighting COVID-19

State of our State

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A man hospitalized with coronavirus for 47 days, with 30 of those days spent on a ventilator beat the odds and is now back home.

Doctors at USA Health University Hospital are calling Matroy Browder a “miracle patient.” On May 15, he finally got to leave that hospital, and staff members lined the halls as he did. When he rounded the corner cheers and applause erupted! Matroy was admitted on March 28 when he started having trouble breathing.

“There was no pain, no fever, it was just inhaling it just felt like, kind of like I had a weight on my chest or something,” said Matroy Browder.

He was put on a ventilator the very next day. His wife, Sylvia, says she remembers it like it was yesterday.

“My heart dropped. I said you promised me that we were going to get through this so I’m holding you to that,” said Sylvia Browder.

Around day 15, Sylvia says she could feel the doctors losing hope.

She said, “At one point they even said it was time to discuss end of life.”

It’s been an uphill battle, but Matroy did get through the worst of it.

“Once I came off of the ventilator, I was on there for 30 days and all my muscles atrophied, my legs, my arms, shoulders, even my muscles around my vocal cord. So I couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk, and it’s all related to strength because my muscles had basically just gotten weak over that 30-day period. So I had to relearn how to do all of that stuff again,” Matroy Browder said.

It’s also been a draining experience emotionally.

“Once I was back where all the sedation was out of me and I could comprehend what was going on, it was just a lonely feeling laying in that hospital bed all day. You can’t see your family. And my family’s always told us if somebody goes to the hospital somebody needs to be there with them. But this COVID virus changed all that,” said Matroy Browder.

COVID has changed a lot of things, including medical experts now recommending social distancing and wearing a face covering in public. Matroy and Sylvia both say they now only leave their home when necessary, and they wish everyone would take COVID seriously.

“You could be a carrier and give it to someone else and not even know it. And it’s really sad because just think about it; One day I was healthy, the next day I was in the hospital on a ventilator fighting for my life. And it changes everything man,” said Matroy Browder.

Matroy admits he was overweight when he was diagnosed with coronavirus, but says he didn’t have any other health issues. He believes he was exposed to the coronavirus during Daytona Bike Week. He will continue physical therapy foreseeable future, but his doctors think he will eventually make a full recovery.

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