COVID patient who went viral in Facebook post receives 2nd Pfizer shot from doctor who saved his life

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Friday, March 5, 2021
COVID patient whose survival story went viral gets vaccinated
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69-year-old Mike Catania barely survived a severe case of COVID-19 last year, and his doctor's Facebook post about him went viral. Thursday, he got vaccinated.

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Mike Catania received his second shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Friday. The 69-year-old went viral last year after developing severe symptoms. He was intubated for over a week and nearly died on multiple occasions.

"I don't remember a lot," he said. "There are parts I would I could forget. It was a grueling period of time."

If his name or story sounds familiar to you, that's because it went viral. One of the doctors who treated him at Advocate Condell Medical Center, Dr. Halleh Akbarnia, wrote an emotional facebook post once he turned a corner and began to recover.

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The post was shared hundreds of thousands of times, and was turned into an op-ed column for the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Akbarnia said the retired teacher actually helped comfort the medical staff during that traumatic time, and since then they have become friends. He brought her a gift Thursday, because she was the one to administer the second dose of his vaccine, ensuring he is now fully inoculated.

"He basically made us comfortable," she said of the time he spent hospitalized. "It's a unique thing a patient can do for you."

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Doctor and patient believe people need to hear about and understand the importance of continuing to take this virus seriously, and about getting vaccinated.

Catania said it was extra special to get his vaccine from the doctor and at the hospital where he was treated for COVID-19, and he expects it means he won't be back.