Mike Dewan, 43, spent more than two weeks at Penn Presbyterian battling COVID-19

By Eric Todisco
April 08, 2020 05:35 PM
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A 43-year-old father of four from Worcester, Pennsylvania, is recovering after spending 17 days on a ventilator fighting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Mike Dewan is home after more than two weeks at Penn Presbyterian. He first got sick on Monday, March 9, initially unaware that he had contracted the contagious respiratory illness.

“He woke up with the chills and a fever and we just thought maybe he had the flu,” Mike’s wife Kelly told local news station ABC 6.

By the end of that week, Kelly and the couple’s four daughters tested positive for COVID-19. Only Mike required hospitalization.

The rest of the family, meanwhile, suffered from headaches, fever, and fatigue at home — unable to visit Mike at the hospital.

“I could barely get up out of my bed to get to the bathroom,” Kelly said. “I wasn’t out of breath, I just had no energy to do it.”

Kelly added that her older daughters, ages 15 and 13, shared her symptoms. But the younger girls, ages 12 and 8, had only minor symptoms.

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Dr. William Short, an infectious disease doctor who treated Mike at Penn Presbyterian, told ABC 6 that Mike was the hospital’s first patient to be admitted with COVID-19 — as well as the first to go home.

“Everyone in the hospital was really happy,” Short said of Mike’s discharge.

Short told the outlet that he treated Mike with Remdesivir, an experimental drug that has been used to treat some patients with COVID-19.

But Short says he is unsure how much of an effect Remdesivir had on Mike’s recovery, stressing that the drug’s impact on the coronavirus is still being studied.

“While he did get better, I just want to emphasize that I don’t know if he got better on his own or because he got the drugs,” Short said.

Now resting at home, Mike said that he does not fully remember his time spent on the ventilator.

“It was almost like a Wizard of Oz type of thing. There was these characters, these nurses, who were amazing. These young, really smart, determined nurses and doctors,” he shared.

The father of four urges people to take the coronavirus outbreak seriously. “There’s all these people that are still in these ventilators and trying to get off. I think about it every day,” he said.

Pennsylvania has at least 14,582 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 240 deaths as of April 8, according to the New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.