NEW YORK - It's been a long road to recovery for coronavirus survivor Kevin Devine. He spent nearly three months at Staten Island University Hospital.
On Wednesday, he returned to the Prince's Bay campus not for more treatment, but to offer his gratitude.
What You Need To Know
- Kevin Devine, 55, spent 117 days in the hospital, 42 of them on a ventilator
- He survived and returned to Staten Island University Hospital to thank the nurses who made that possible
- The nurses got him to agree to be intubated, and held his hand as it happened
"Do you mind if I hug you?" he asked the nurses who treated him during his stay. "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
Devine, an otherwise healthy 55-year-old, caught the virus in the spring and was hospitalized on March 23. Just days later, staff at the hospital urged him to go on a ventilator.
"You're watching the news and you're seeing everybody dying and I'm like, I don't want to do that. I'm gonna die,” he recalled.
Nurse Janeen Abdeldaym told Devine that he reminded her of her own father.
"I tried to explain to him, if you were my father, sitting here right now, dealing with COVID, I would 100 percent want you to go for the intubation. That's the only hope right now. That's the only way we know something might come out of this that's positive. And here we are today and here he is doing so well. It's a very happy moment to see,” Abdeldaym said.
When it was time to be placed on the ventilator, nurses Annmarie Pucilla and Tina Petrizzo were at his bedside. Devine remembered that just before he was intubated, he begged Petrizzo to keep him alive for his family.
"Holding your hand and saying don't let me die. Don't let me die. And if I do, please tell them I love them. Because you were, you were it. You're the last person I'm speaking to,” Devine said.
Devine remained on the ventilator for forty-two days, time he remembers only as dreams. His medical team worked furiously to keep him alive amid complications like kidney problems.
"And then waking up and realizing, I'm alive,” he said.
One hundred and seventeen days after he was admitted, Devine was able to walk out of the hospital and return home to his family. And he says he has these nurses to thank.
"I don't know how else I could say it, but you guys kept me alive," he said.
He brought them chocolates and roses, but says nothing he ever does would be enough to express his gratitude at being able to celebrate the holidays with his wife and daughter once again.
"It's a very merry Christmas for me, I get to spend it with them, and I can't thank you enough. I just can't thank you enough,” he said.