Following a difficult journey battling COVID-19, Sharp Healthcare ER nurse Danny Plata said he's a miracle because, after nearly three months, he walked out of the hospital on Monday.
The beloved nurse was treated with a round of applause and cheers as he walked out of Sharp Memorial Monday afternoon. Plata has spent nearly the last three months relying on his colleagues.
“It's amazing,” Plata said. "I'm literally a miracle."
The father of two said doctors and nurses at Sharp Memorial did everything at the perfect time to save his life.
“I started getting short of breath, had a dry cough, and that just got worse throughout Saturday night," Plata said. "By Sunday, I couldn't move. I felt like I got hit by a truck."
In January, the ER nurse tested positive for COVID-19 and was sent to the hospital, where he was later put on a ventilator.
“But it's a long process, and it's very scary,” Plata said.
Plata described an intense treatment for the first month and a half, 41 days of which he was in a coma.
“It's a little depressing when you're hearing that you're doing all this work and instead of going forward, you actually took a few steps back,” Plata said. “So, I had my moments of weakness, and I'm not a very emotional guy, but in here it's taking a toll. I definitely found my teddy bear inside of me.”
The determined father was working out on a bicycle while he was still intubated, and then, within three days of waking up from the coma, Plata said, he took his first steps.
“So as soon as I woke up, I was trying to peddle and trying to stand up,” Plata said.
Plata’s family and friends, alongside the Sharp Healthcare hospital staff, nurses and doctors, watched on Monday when Plata marched out of the hospital and into his family's arms.
“They took care of me when most people would’ve given up," Plata said as he stood outside Sharp Memorial thanking people. "They push hard."
Plata was sent home with oxygen and this important message for the community.
“There is hope," Plata said. "It can be done. This can be overcome. You just need dedication and the right treatment."
While Plata begins his recovery at home, he is also encouraging others to do their part and get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I will forever be grateful they saved my life, and thanks to them, I’m here,” Plata said.
Plata said his goal is to get his lungs fully functional and off the oxygen. He said he would be attending a post COVID clinic, and as soon as he's ready, he plans to head back to the emergency room as a nurse so he can continue to help others.