After cross-country search for critical care, man survives COVID-19 thanks to Conn. hospital

Robby Walker, a Florida man whose family called more than 150 hospitals to get him COVID-19...
Robby Walker, a Florida man whose family called more than 150 hospitals to get him COVID-19 treatment, was released from his Connecticut hospital Wednesday.(Source: WFSB/CNN)
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 8:33 AM EDT
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WALLINGFORD, Conn. (Gray News) - It has been a long road to recovery for a father from Florida.

Robby Walker went on a grueling cross-country search to find a hospital to save his life.

Two months ago, the unvaccinated father of six was dying of COVID-19, couldn’t find a hospital in Florida with a bed for him and was told he would not survive.

His family was looking for hospitals that offered ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, WFSB reported.

In this procedure, blood is pumped outside of your body to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back to tissues in the body. This allows the heart and lungs to rest and heal and is used in critical care situations, the Mayo Clinic said.

A doctor with Saint Francis Hospital in Connecticut saw his wife Susan’s plea for help and knew the hospital could help.

Robby Walker was on the heart-lung machine for 22 days and has spent a month at at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare in Wallingford.

He lost 50 pounds and couldn’t stand up on his own, but now he’s heading home to Florida.

Robby Walker is Gaylord Specialty Healthcare’s 307th COVID-19 patient to get discharged.

He said if he had it to do over again, he would’ve gotten vaccinated.

Susan Walker thanked the medical center for saving her husband’s life, saying, “without that chance my husband wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. WFSB and CNN Newsource contributed to this report. All rights reserved.