The Miracle Man: Retired HFD captain battles COVID, and wins

Former firefighter who battled COVID-19 for 88 days finally discharged from hospital

KAILUA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An emotional send off was held on Friday for an Oahu man who was hospitalized for almost 88 days battling COVID-19.

72-year-old Jack Denis is being called "The Miracle Man."

The retired Honolulu Fire captain was rushed to the ER on March 30th after returning from a cruise to New Zealand and Australia.

Wearing maile, pikake, and his signature black hat, he waved to the hospital staff who cared for him at Adventist Health Castle in Kailua, and loved ones and his Honolulu Fire family cheered as he was wheeled outside.

Jack is unable to speak right now because he had a tracheotomy, but his wife of almost 25 years expressed their happiness and gratitude for the both of them.

"He came close a couple times, very close," said Donna Denis. "I just want to thank you all for your prayers because God heard them, and that's why he's here today."

Donna says she also tested positive for COVID-19, but she only had body aches and a slight fever.

Jack's doctors say he was intubated within minutes of arriving at the hospital and spent 66 days on a ventilator before he was able to breathe on his own.

"One night he just said, 'Nope, I'm not going back on the ventilator,' and from that day forward he never went back on the ventilator," said Dr. Dan Bendtsen, an ICU doctor. "This is what we all do this for, and to see your hardwork pay off like this is just awesome."

Jack also received plasma as part of his treatment.

"Since nobody knows exactly what the textbook says on how to treat (COVID-19) properly, we became innovative with how to treat him," said pulmonologist Dr. Takkin Lo.

Jack lost about 40 pounds during his battle with COVID-19, and he's looking forward to enjoying all his favorite local grinds again.

"He has a long list of what he wants to eat besides oxtail soup, spam and egg sandwich, won ton min, and pork tofu," said Donna.

Jack is now headed to the Rehab Hospital of the Pacific to continue his recovery. He and his family want the public to know that this pandemic is real.

“My husband said you better wake up. This is not a joke,” Donna said.

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