Against the odds: COVID-19 sufferer survives

The odds were stacked against him. A week ago, 39-year-old Andres Suarez was flat on his back with a severe dry cough that  had developed in a matter of hours.

“At that point, we decided to go to the hospital,” said Suarez.

At West Kendall Regional Hospital, an X-ray indicated he had pneumonia. Doctors took some tests and sent him home with antivirals, but soon symptoms worsened.

“The fact that I couldn’t breathe on my own was quite scary,” said Suarez.

His breathing didn’t improve as he awaited test results. A few days later, it was confirmed: he had COVID-19.

He returned to the hospital.

“I had asked to sit in a wheelchair unable to continue walking as I felt weak,” said Suarez.

Healthcare workers immediately took him to a waiting room, where they provided an oxygen mask. Despite the high levels of oxygen pumped into his lungs, his vitals continued to drop. Then a nurse took him to the ICU. He found himself struggling to maintain his breathing.

“At that moment I thought to myself, ‘What can I do to make the situation better?’” said Suarez.

In the midst of all the chaos, though, he was not alone. His family and members of his church, Arde Miami, prayed for him.

“This is what kept me going,” said Suarez.“It came to a moment where I did not see my levels getting any better, the room was filled with a few physicians wearing gloves and masks.”

He was told if the medication did not improve his current state, he would need to be intubated.

“At that point, the doctors suggested I should start rotating and sleeping …on my side… that way my lungs could work a little bit better,” said Suarez.

Suddenly, his health began to improve. It was “nothing more than a miracle from God,” said Suarez.

After spending a week at West Kendall Hospital, he was released on April 16.

“When I saw my husband walking out of the hospital I knew it was a miracle,” said Karina Suarez.

Suarez family welcoming Andres back home. Photo courtesy of Karina Suarez.

Arriving home, he was welcomed by his three kids, who were more than ready to see him. They had hung a banner saying “Dreams do come true. Welcome Home.”

Suarez said he was grateful for the care he received.

“At no point did I ever feel cold-hearted treatment from the doctors, if anything they made sure I was well taken care of,” said Suarez. “I am grateful that after living through this, I was able to come back home to my wife and kids, I know things could have ended very differently.”

Jordan Coll is from Miami and is currently majoring in journalism with a minor in philosophy. He enjoys reading and meeting new people from all walks of life. His deeply embedded passions are  music, photography, travel and keeping up with current events.