COVID-19 survivor finds lengthy hospital stay just the beginning of his battle against the virus

Local patients recovering from coronavirus still experiencing long-term complications

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A retired firefighter who spent more than two months on a ventilator while battling COVID-19 says his medical battles aren’t over despite being cleared of the virus.

Seventy-two year-old Jack Denis, dubbed the “miracle man” after beating back the virus, was sent to the Rehab Hospital of the Pacific last month following an 88-day stint at Adventist Health Castle.

Even though he was deemed COVID-free, the retired firefighter began coughing heavily two days into his rehab, resulting in a collapsed lung and another trip to the emergency room.

He is still at Rehab, recovering from his latest ordeal.

“For him, the frustration of being in the hospital so long, being so close to going home and now with incident at the Rehab hospital — he’s set back three weeks now,” said his wife, Donna Denis.

Emergency room doctors said he suffered from aspiration pneumonia and acute respiratory failure with hypoxia.

Donna Denis blames Rehab’s staff for not diagnosing his collapsed lung and not having enough trained staff.

Rehab officials declined comment, citing medical privacy laws but added:

“We at Rehab treat all our patients with the utmost respect and strive our best to protect their health and safety,” the company said.

Experts said that some COVID survivors are beginning to experience long-term complications due to their infections, such as lung damage and blood clots throughout their body.

“We’re having severe destruction of the lung tissue. That virus goes in and literally liquifies the little air sacs,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich, of Premier Medical Group.

“The long-term sequella of COVID ... is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in modern medicine.”

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