The road to COVID recovery is long for this local man

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:48 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - One Augusta wife describes her husband’s bounce back from COVID-19 as a marathon, not a sprint.

Craig Churchill is still on the road to recovery after first getting diagnosed four months ago, even breaking records at AU Health.

It has been a long four-month battle for Churchill, where every minute was a battle to stay alive.

“The doctors pretty much said we don’t know if he’s going to make it. His odds don’t look very good,” said Lisa Churchill, Craig’s wife.

After catching COVID, he was sent to University Hospital for treatment.

“He was only in ICU a short time before he stopped breathing,” said Lisa.

Doctors say he went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. From there he was sent to AU and put on an ECMO machine.

Vijay Patel, director of AU’s ECMO program said: “It truly was, in a way, a miracle for him to survive after such a long period of time on ECMO support.”

It’s designed to help you breathe when your lungs fail. Doctors say it’s the longest they’ve ever seen a patient on one and survive.

“Over the last two years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in thousands of patients who have needed ECMO support for lung infections and more specifically COVID patients,” said Patel.

The road to recovery will take months, and the effects will last even longer.

“I’ve prayed for complete restoration of his health, and I think that’s what we’re going to get,” said Lisa. “There’s just joy in watching him eat his breakfast and brush his teeth.”

Craig is currently in Atlanta, at Emory, where he is undergoing physical therapy, re-learning how to walk and eat.

Even Craig having the chance to hold his wife’s hand again is everything.

“Those little things I don’t take for granted anymore,” she said.

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