It was a celebration nearly eight weeks in the making for a Queens man discharged from Long Island Jewish Forest Hills on Monday. 

Brian Morales, 28, was admitted to the hospital in late March. Doctors soon inserted a tube into his trachea and placed him on a ventilator.

Days turned into weeks. His odds of survival were not good, but he prevailed.

“I was off from my job for more than two weeks, and then I came to the hospital on March 27," Morales said. "After two months, I finally get to get home now because I survived the coronavirus."

“The fact that he was in the hospital for 53 days, that is a prolonged course for someone his age,” said Dr. Syed Iqbal, the ICU attending physician. “We are dealing with a pretty terrible disease. Is he an exception? He is one of our cases that gives us hope that what we are doing is working."

While in the hospital, nurses learned that Morales worried not about himself, but rather about his family that he left behind at home. 

“He was very focused on the fact that his family couldn’t care for themselves right now. They had lost another family member to COVID in the previous weeks” explained Merav Deguzman, manager of Patient and Family Centered Care. "Tensions were high. There was little food, if any."

Hospital staff connected the Morales family with community resources and a food delivery service so Brian could focus on his health.

“How you feel, mind, body, and spirit, does affect whether your outcome is good,” Deguzman said. "That’s a major improvement in his wellbeing."

“It’s just really just motivational to the staff,” said Rosemarie Robinson, ICU assistant director of nursing. “They have been through so much despair, so much sadness, and to have this 28-year-old walk out of here today is really cause for a celebration.” 

“I just want to thank the hospital for everything,” said Morales. "For all the help, for all the support. They did a phenomenal job and I don’t know what I’d do without them."



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