ELMHURST, Ill. (WLS) -- Jonathan Davila took his first breath of fresh air outside in 44 days, as he was released from Elmhurst Memorial Hospital after surviving the coronavirus.
He was greeted by his wife and three children, including his infant son, for the first time since he was admitted.
"Hi baby," he said to his youngest, "It's me, Daddy."
It's been a long and scary time for the entire family. Davila was admitted to Elmhurst Hospital in late March. He spent about three weeks intubated for respiratory failure, and was also on dialysis for a time.
"Pushing to get better. Hoping to get better. Praying to get better," was how Davila said he spent the time he was hospitalized.
"It was really hard," his wife Ashley said. "I was thinking about how to tell the kids they weren't gonna have their dad."
Doctors said it's unusual for a young healthy patient to suffer such a severe reaction to COVID-19. For a time they worried he might not survive. They are thrilled to celebrate his recovery.
"It's an inspiration for us. It shows us all the hard work and time is worthwhile," said Dr. Phillip Cozzi, who treated Davila much of the time.
The hospital has put a plastic daffodil in the garden to represent each patient who recovers from COVID-19, and Davila's son was thrilled to place one there for his dad Tuesday.
His family was not allowed to visit while Davila was hospitalized.
"I talked through FaceTime but it was not the same as holding them, being there with them. It was hard," he said.
The worst is over but Davila is not able to go home yet. He is being transferred to Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center in Wheaton. Doctors expect him to be there for about a month.
Elmhurst coronavirus patient released after 44 days in hospital
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