Dad with COVID — Whose Family Tried 169 Hospitals Before Finding Treatment — Is Recovering at Home

"My goal is to get hopefully 80% or 90% to where I was," Robby Walker told CNN

james walker
Photo: Facebook

A Florida father of six, whose family reached out to 169 hospitals before finally finding life-saving care for his serious case of COVID, is home from the hospital.

Earlier this year, Robby Walker contracted COVID on a family trip, and developed pneumonia in both lungs. He was not vaccinated. His wife Susan Walker told CNN that he was in "dire need" of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) treatment but "all the [hospital] beds were taken up by COVID victims also getting" treated.

After Susan made public her husband's situation, Connecticut doctor Robert Gallagher offered to provide him the care he needed. Robby, 52, had to take a special medical flight to Connecticut and was intubated during the trip.

According to CNN, Robby used to work out at the gym and would run five miles each day. Now, as he recovers from his serious COVID case, he has scarred lungs and reduced breathing capacity. The outlet said that he lost over 50 lbs. while hospitalized and is only able to speak "in short, choppy sentences" before needing to take a breath.

"My lungs have gotten a little bit better, [but] my heart rate still races a little bit," Robby told CNN last week.

"I can walk by myself — somebody's there just kind of making sure I'm staying straight. But I use a roller/walker, and I'm able to walk a decent distance," he added. "I mean, I'm not going to the mall or going shopping. But I'm able to walk some now. So it's been a big improvement."

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Robby was discharged from the hospital in mid-September and then started a month of inpatient rehabilitation. After being discharged from the rehab center last week, Robby's two brothers rented an RV and drove to Connecticut to bring him and his wife back home to Florida, CNN said.

Though it's unclear if Robby will return to work — he still needs months of rehab — the former construction business owner told the outlet that he remains hopeful that he will improve.

"My goal is to get hopefully 80% or 90% to where I was," he said. "[But] they just don't know enough about this to give any kind of definitive answers."

A family friend has since set up a GoFundMe page, which will help the Walkers pay for the medical expenses from the care in both Florida and Connecticut.

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