26-year-old COVID-19 patient once in vegetative state leaves hospital as survivor

Tionna Hairston left Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health Rehabilitation Hospital Oct. 22 after suffering COVID-19 complications physicians deemed incurable, reports The Winston-Salem Journal.

Ms. Hairston, 26, suffered a COVID-19 infection that contributed to a stroke, which caused bleeding in the brain and blood clots in her heart, according to Stacy Peatross, Ms. Hairston's mother. 

The woman required a ventilator for more than two months, along with a trach tube and collar. While being treated at Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Forsyth Medical Center's intensive care unit, Ms. Hairston experienced cardiac arrest. After being revived, her kidneys and liver began to fail. Physicians prepared Ms. Hairston's family for her death, saying the woman would probably be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life.

In July, Ms. Hairston began to regain functionality in her kidneys and liver, which allowed her to leave the ICU, said Ms. Peatross.

Ms. Hairston still has limited use of her arms and can only walk with a walker due to muscular atrophy. She is also suffering some memory loss. 

"She had every system in her body collapsed, everything shut down, and she's got most everything back," said James McLean, MD, medical director of the Novant Rehabilitation Hospital.  

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