The day the family had planned to terminate Bettina Lerman’s life support, she suddenly woke up after 60 days on a ventilator with COVID-19
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Covid ventilator
Bettina Lerman
| Credit: GoFundMe

As their 69-year-old mother spent 60 days on a ventilator with COVID-19 and doctors said that she wasn't going to make it, Andrew Lerman and his family was preparing for her death. They had started picking out a gravestone, planning what she would wear for the funeral, canceled her lease and donated her belongings, when suddenly, Bettina Lerman woke up.

"They told us, 'Your mother is never going to wake up,' " Andrew told The Washington Post. "It was the end of the line."

But on Oct. 29, they were planning to take Bettina off life support when a doctor at her hospital in Portland, Maine, called Andrew.

"He goes, 'Well I need you to come up to the hospital right away.' I'm like, 'What? Is something wrong?' He goes, 'Well your mother just woke up.' I literally dropped the phone. I was like, 'What?' I mean, because we were supposed to be terminating life support that day," Andrew told WMTW News.

Bettina was unvaccinated and had multiple preexisting conditions, including diabetes, and had recently undergone a quadruple-bypass surgery, which made her COVID-19 illness more severe. She lives in Florida but had been up in Maine to help Andrew care for his father, who has stage 4 cancer, and while she was there all three of them contracted COVID-19.

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Andrew is also unvaccinated, and said the virus was "brutal" for him, while his father recovered quickly. But Bettina had the worst illness of the three.

"She was planning on getting vaccinated before she left Florida, but she ran out of time," Andrew told the Post. "She was going to get vaccinated up here, but she came down with COVID."

Doctors said that Bettina's lungs "were destroyed" and "thought there was no chance of survival at that point," Andrew said. But she's now out of the intensive care unit and slowly improving, though she still needs some oxygen support.

"They're already talking about rehab hospitals — stuff like that," Andrew said. "Three-and-a-half weeks ago, they were talking about end-of-life stuff."

The family has started a GoFundMe page to help with the hospital bills, and now Andrew and Bettina plan on getting vaccinated.

"I think the right thing to do is to get vaccinated, so if one of our family members gets it again it won't be that bad," he told WMTW.