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Faces of COVID: Doctor near-death makes a full recovery

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – We wrap up our five-part series of ‘Honoring Our Heroes: The Faces of Covid Caregivers.’
Sometimes it’s the patient who teaches doctors and health experts how to become better healthcare workers.

For Physical Therapist Angela Hallstrom it was patient Kenneth Hurwitz.
Nearly every organ in his body was failing him.
Hurwitz said, ‘except my heart. My heart kept me alive.’

Dr. Kenneth Hurwitz of Park City was dying from COVID-19 and doesn’t remember most of it.
Hurwitz said, ‘I found out I was airlifted to LDS Hospital at 1:30 in the morning.’

It was March 27th when Dr. Kenneth Hurwitz was put in an induced coma.
He doesn’t even remember a full week of physical therapy with Angela Hallstrom at Intermountain LDS Hospital.

Hallstrom said, ‘there were so many times I was scared for him.’

His condition surprised many because Kenneth was in such great shape with no underlying health condition.
Hurwitz said, ‘I exercised every day. I was skiing. I had no core morbidities, no diabetes, no heart disease, no hypertension. That’s probably what got me through this.’

Kenneth would take a turn for the worse, paralyzed and put on his stomach for most of the time.
Hallstrom said, ‘it was discouraging, it was heartbreaking. When I say he started all over again he couldn’t sit by himself.’

Kenneth would wakeup suddenly two weeks later to Angela’s voice.
Hurwitz, ‘the lights went on and I saw her face. She said ‘good morning Kenny.’ I love them they are my angels. They saved my life. I don’t know how I’ll repay them.’

Kenneth is an example of the incredible strength of the human spirit.
Hallstrom, ‘he would try anything you threw at him. That was as special moment, he was trying to stand and giving his wife a thumbs up.’

Kenneth’s recollection of the time in the hospital is murky.
‘it wasn’t scary because I was unconscious.’

But for his wife Bev it was a different story.
Bev said, ‘first it was waiting for him to die and then it was waiting for him to turn blue at night, gradually returning to the man I never thought I would get back.’

While not everyone has been as lucky as Kenneth, Angela says it was a blessing to have had such a challenging patient early on in the pandemic.
Hallstrom said, ‘I think it’s really good that we can look back on someone who was so sick and they did recover and it helps us not give up on anybody facing the same obstacles as Ken.’

For additional information about Intermountain Healthcare, please visit their website. If you or a family member is experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.

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