‘COVID-19 is a monster’: Patton Village officer leaves hospital after monthlong coronavirus fight

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – A Patton Village police officer, who was the first reported case of coronavirus in Montgomery County, has been discharged from the hospital after fighting the disease for more than a month.

Wearing boxing gloves, Officer Chris Hernandez walked out of Chi St. Luke’s Health in The Woodlands on Wednesday to a cheering crowd.

Hernandez was admitted to the hospital with severe flu-like symptoms on March 8 and eventually had to be placed on a ventilator.

Doctors treated Hernandez with a procedure called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The therapy requires blood to be moved out of the body, through an artificial lung where carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen is added. The blood is then pumped back into the body by an artificial heart.

“There’s not enough words out there for what they did for me,” Hernandez said in an interview provided by hospital officials. “I just want them to keep doing what they’re doing because they are saving people’s lives.”

Doctors said Hernandez is the first COVID-19 patient in Texas to be treated with the ECMO procedure.

“For those who aren’t taking it seriously, COVID-19 is a monster,” Hernandez said in the interview. “It will kill you. It almost killed me.”

Officials said Hernandez attended the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo cookoff before developing symptoms.

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