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Nev. paramedic to return to work full-time after 20-month battle with COVID-19

“I just feel like I’m here for a reason,” said John Foster, who spent two months in the ICU, heavily sedated and on a ventilator


Illustration/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

By Leila Merrill

HENDERSON, Nev. — Paramedic John Foster spent two months in a hospital intensive care unit, heavily sedated and on a ventilator during a hard battle with COVID-19. About 20 months after he drove himself to a hospital, he was recently able to spend the holidays with family before returning to work full-time, the Las Vegas Journal-Review reported.

Foster said he has a new perspective on life.

“I just feel like I’m here for a reason,” he said.

Foster was admitted to Henderson Hospital in April last year, and his condition deteriorated quickly. He remembers little about the time he spent in the ICU.

While he was on the ventilator, his weight fell from 260 to 151, he said, due to muscle wastage.

He was transported to a rehabilitation center and stayed there for three months. Foster praised the staffers but said he was lonely.

“I had to learn how to walk, talk, go to the bathroom, do math, do English,” he said. “I had to relearn everything.”

He moved to Fallon to be closer to family members as he has continued to recover.

Foster got vaccinated, including a booster shot. He said he thinks the immunizations along with immunity from his infection helped him avoid reinfection since he has been exposed to the virus while working part-time paramedic jobs.

His symptoms have improved over time, but trouble with balance and long-term memory continue. Foster plans to return to working full-time as a paramedic in Fallon and will soon teach at Western Nevada College in Carson City.

“Funny thing is, I can remember everything I need to do as a paramedic,” he said.