Milwaukee man survives coronavirus after being on a ventilator for 13 days

Posted at 9:25 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 23:29:08-04

A Milwaukee man has survived the coronavirus after being on a ventilator for 13 days.

Paul Williams, 40, was discharged from Ascension St. Joseph's Hospital on Monday afternoon. Doctors, nurses and other health workers lined the lobby, cheering him on while his brother picked him up to take him home.

"I just thank God, I just know there’s a God, I seen both sides, and I’m not playing," Williams said.

Williams fell ill weeks before he went to the hospital.

"I was laying in bed for two weeks, and I told my sister, I stood up and almost fell," Williams said. "And I was like call an ambulance right now."

He went to the emergency room on April 2. His doctor said Williams was talking, but within 24 hours he had to be put on a ventilator and fell into a coma, where he would remain for 13 days.

"On the seventh day we thought we almost lost him because we took out his tube," said Dr. Om Ahuja. "He was running low oxygen for almost 12 hours."

But Williams pulled through. On Monday, after a total of 18 days in the hospital, doctors celebrated his life. Williams doesn't need oxygen, but doctors say it will be a few weeks before he is completely back to normal.

"The way he was sick, it’s amazing that he made it," Ahuja said.

As of Monday, the virus has killed 127 people in Milwaukee County, and more than half of those deaths are African-American. Williams lives just a few blocks from St. Joseph's on Milwaukee's north side, an area that's been hit particularly hard.

The message has been shared so many times, but Williams can't stress it enough: stay home.

"They be ending up in the hospital with that thing down their throat that I had for two weeks, and now I'm out" Williams said. "They don’t want to go through what I just went through."

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