Va. paramedic shares details from 36-day COVID-19 battle

When 40-year-old Salem Fire-EMS Paramedic Devin Turner was admitted to the hospital, he had no idea he wouldn't step outside its walls for the next 36 days


By Rachel Engel

SALEM, Va. — A paramedic who was hospitalized for 36 days with COVID-19, including 12 days on a ventilator while in respiratory distress, is speaking out about his experience.

WDBJ 7 reported that Devin Turner, 40, came down with what he considered a mild case of the virus before his symptoms intensified and he felt the need to go to the hospital. 

That revelation hit him hard. 

“I also kind of knew inside how sick I was, and I think that’s when our story got real, because I looked at my wife, and I said, this will not be the way I leave you, don’t worry about that,” Turner said.

Turner was immediately placed in the ICU and eventually put on a ventilator due to his dropping oxygen levels. 

That move was a scary one for Turner's wife, Sherrie. 

“It was very scary," she said. "I mean, I’m a nurse, so it’s even scarier when you have that knowledge of what’s going on ... I kind of had the same perspective as he did, I’m not going to be a widow at the age of 40, you have to pull through.”

Turner was able to take advantage of a new technology provided by the hospital – the use of heated oxygen – which he claims saved his life.

"To say I was very sick and probably had less than a 5% chance of living is probably actually an understatement," he said, "but luckily my body and everything else just flipped a switch and things started getting better."

Now in physical therapy, Turner is looking forward to getting back to living. 

"You kind of realize all the experiences you were missing out on, and I literally have a second chance at life, and I’m not going to let that down," he said. 

 

Thank you WDBJ7 for covering this heartwarming story. Our physicians and colleagues join Salem Fire EMS members and the...

Posted by LewisGale Regional Health System on Sunday, January 17, 2021

 

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