WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A big milestone and life victory at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford on Wednesday. A Florida man who came very close to death with COVID was released from the rehabilitation center.
His family tried 169 hospitals in Florida, but none had room for him because of the advanced treatment he desperately needed.
Robby Walker came to Connecticut in August to receive ECMO treatment at Saint Francis Hospital.
“All the beds are taken up by COVID victims also getting ECMO treatment,” said Susan Walker. “So, now we’re desperately searching outside of the state just for a hospital.”
The day Robby got intubated, he called his wife Susan expressing regret for not getting vaccinated and urged her to get the vaccine, which she did.
Susan describes the first time she connected with someone at St. Francis Hospital.
“The first time I talked to Angela she said to me you know the risk and if you’re willing to take a chance we’re willing to take a chance with you. So without that chance, my husband wouldn’t be sitting here right now so I’m forever grateful. I think we’re friends for life,” Susan describes.
Robbie got covid in July. He explains why he was not vaccinated.
“For me, it was a lack of education. I didn’t realize it was a shot that had been developed for years I thought it was something that had been developed in a year,” says Robbie.
“All my relatives here have all had it. They were sick for a couple days and that was it so I didn’t think it would be anything for me when I got it,” Robbie adds.
Robbie now urges people to get vaccinated.
He was at Saint Francis for several weeks getting ECMO treatment, which uses a machine to take the role of both the heart and lungs. That treatment is what they could not locate in Florida because they were all being used.
“If you are familiar with Mr. Walker’s journey, you know it took overcoming enormous hurdles to get to Connecticut and Saint Francis,” said Thomas Burke, President of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.
Robby spent 30 days at Gaylord for complex medical care and intensive rehabilitation to regain strength and his function. He arrived still on a trach and was weaned from oxygen.
He is Gaylord Specialty HealthCare’s 307th COVID inpatient discharge.