SUGAR LAND, Texas – A corrections officer with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office is fighting for his life at a Sugar Land hospital after contracting the H1N1 virus in January.
Efran Garcia is in the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.
His wife of 14 years, Sidney, said he went to the emergency room on Jan. 3, and was told he had bilateral pneumonia.
“He was in a medically induced coma for eight days, eight to 10 days,” Sidney said. “And when they turned off the sedation, he didn't wake up.”
Sidney, who is a stay-at-home mom, has been juggling being by Efran’s bedside with raising and home-schooling their four children. The children range in age from 9 to 13.
“My children are a little devastated,” she said. “Dad walked out the door with a cough and he hasn't returned.”
On top of mounting medical costs, bills at home are piling up. The family survives solely on Efran’s income. His rehabilitation may take up to a year. So, family friend Carol Walker stepped in.
“We knew Efran’s family and Sidney’s family is all in California, so we were, like, 'You know what? His blue family can step up. We’re his family,'” Walker said.
Walker’s husband has worked with Efran for four years at the sheriff's office.
“We decided we could be with Sidney at his bedside,” said Walker. “You know, bring meals, clean the lawn. Whatever needs to be done, we can do.”
The law enforcement community has also set up a GoFundMe account to help with the Garcia family’s finances.
The group is also organizing a benefit dinner and silent auction at Safari Texas Ranch. It’s scheduled for March 23 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50.