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Thornton man given 1% survival chance reflects 1-year after COVID hospitalization

Thornton man reflects year after severe COVID case
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Posted at 4:10 PM, Feb 05, 2022

THORNTON, Colo. — It's been nearly two years since the start of the pandemic in Colorado. One man who made a miraculous recovery after contracting the virus is reflecting on the last year.

On February 8, 2021, Jaime Gonzalez-Tolentino was admitted to the hospital during a battle with the virus and was given a 1% chance of survival. Nearly a year later he and his family share this story of a miraculous recovery.

Gonzalez contracted a severe case of the coronavirus in 2021 after suffering a stroke and battling Pneumonia just a few years earlier. He was in a coma, intubated, and put on an ECMO machine that provides heart and lung support. The days in the hospital turned into months.

"They told me, you know, he has a 1% chance. I mean, there was just, they didn't have any hope for him," said Jaime's oldest son, Jesus. "It was hard, especially me being the oldest. And, you know, how are you going to tell your siblings, your younger siblings that his dad is going to, is going to die?"

Despite all odds against them, his family did not lose hope and did what they could to help. Jaime's oldest son suggested a rare steroid treatment. With few options left one doctor agreed to try it.

“She took a leap of faith on us because we told her that we were people of faith that we believe God was going be there for us," said Jesus.

On Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, which also happened to be Jaime's youngest son's birthday, a miracle happened: the dad-of-three woke up after a couple of months in a coma.

Jaime says he remembers that moment, being surrounded by his family and mother. He says seeing their excitement gave him the same feeling and motivation to push forward.

Gonzalez spent exactly 100 days hospitalized before making it home on May 20, 2021. Since then, Jaime has been able to resume his normal life with a few restrictions like having to use an oxygen pack.

He says doctors at his latest appointment have told him that his health is progressing and his lungs are improving. His message to those who hear his story is, "Life is beautiful and is something that should be enjoyed by everyone."