COVID-19 survivor shares how he beat the virus

Posted at 5:51 AM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 08:07:34-04

WEST ALLIS — Earlier this month, we shared how a local hospital is using a blood filter not yet FDA approved on our sickest COVID-19 patients.

TMJ4 News spoke to a West Allis man who recovered after using this device.

50-year-old Les Wilbert is back at home after spending 24 days in the hospital at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, fighting coronavirus.

“They said that I could have died,” said Wilbert.

After going in and out of the hospital with a fever and COVID-19 symptoms, he could no longer breathe well. He explains, “I was short of breath, I couldn’t hardly talk.”

To combat COVID-19, doctors put him on an ECMO machine and added an experimental blood filter called CytoSorb. The device filtered molecules that caused inflammation out of his blood. He is one of three patients at the hospital to fully recover after this therapy.

“When I woke up they told me my levels were going down starting looking good my kidneys started looking normal,” said Wilbert who is thankful to the entire medical staff at Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin for saving his life, adding, “I credit everyone in that hospital they were so good to me they went over and beyond.”

CytoSorb is not yet approved by the FDA. The federal agency allows doctors to use experimental treatments right now on the sickest patients like Wilbert.

Wilbert is spending another month at home to recover.

He is thankful for all the support of his loving family who encouraged him along the way. He has this advice for all of us, “Just be careful be safe keep doing social distancing and watch what you’re doing.”

Your Rebound Rundown:

  • CytoSorb is used on our sickest COVID-19 patients
  • CytoSorb is not yet FDA approved
  • CDC guidance: Continue social distancing and wash hands often.

CystoSorb has been used for several years on patients in Europe, primarily for dialysis patients. Click here to learn more.

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