Transcript for ER doctor who survived COVID-19 reunites with family after 3-month-long battle
Tonight the emergency room doctor who ended up in the icu as a patient. Here's Kaylee Hartung. Hi dad! Hi, daddy! Reporter: For Dr. Grant Lashley, this is a moment he wasn't sure he'd ever experience again. Embracing his family for the first time in over three months after a grueling battle with coronavirus. Oh, I love you. Reporter: The 50-year-old er doctor contracted covid-19 while working at a hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana, the virus stripping him of his ability to walk and nearly taking his life. He was left with dramatic life-altering consequences from this illness and had to have patience with himself first and foremost. I told you I'd walk out. Reporter: But today more than 90 days and three hospitals later, he's finally heading Dr. Lashley is one of the lucky survivors. More than 4 million people have been diagnosed with covid-19 across the U.S. But cases continue to surge in 37 states, Puerto Rico and the district of Columbia. According to the CDC, more than 100,000 health care professionals have contracted the disease. More than 850 have died, likely after helping patients during the pandemic. For the nearly 2 million patients who've been hospitalized, this doctor says many face a long and complicated journey. Once they say you can leave the hospital then what? Who's going to helpyou whenyo get home if you can't do everything that you could independently? Who's going to get you back to work? Reporter: Lashley, a doctor for 15 years had been working on the front lines of the pandemic when he suddenly fell ill, testing positive for covid-19 and strep. He developed a high fever and low oxygen saturation. Reporter: His wife also a doctor at points feeling helpless. In about 24 hours he was hospitalized and in intensive care unit and then intubated. When you become a patient it makes a big difference. I got to take off my doctor hat and let y'all do what you got do do to help me. Reporter: He would spend 39 days on a ventilator fighting for his life. What were the toughest days of the last 90 like for you. They were real difficult. The hardest thing for me, there were a lot of days we didn't know if he would survive the intensive care unit. There were discussions of is it possibly time to remove life support. Reporter: Lashley sought care in Houston, Texas, rehabilitation taking place at one of the top care facilities. Teal memorial Herman. He already had weakness in his arms and legs from losing strength and muscle mass. But then he had a stroke on top of that related to covid. He was fully dependent on the nursing staff and aides to help him. You should be good. One, two, three, up. Reporter: At teal, he would begin the difficult process of learning to walk again. Small victories on his long road to recovery. Nice step. That was a better one. You have to give it your best foot forward and try every day. 100% you're walking out of here, I'm not letting you wheel out. Beautiful, that was the best one yet. Reporter: Every new movement a milestone, climbing stairs, gaining strength in arms and Try to extend more at the wrist. You're doing good. Hold on. Okay. I'm going to help you. Now G. Reporter: His wife and children at home awaiting updates, sending videos of encouragement. You're the best daddy in the world! Reporter: The kids only able to catch sight of their father once. They were able to see him in the ambulance once, on the stretcher. Reporter: What was he like when he first came into this building and what state is he in as he leaves? He was requiring total assistant to get out of bed, do movement he could not stand, he could not walk. He had his breathing tube in place. Reporter: The doctor calling his progress nothing short of remarkable. He is now walking. He is getting himself to the bathroom, to the shower. He's going to hug his family members when he leaves today. No hands! Reporter: One of the factors that contributed to his recovery, he was treated with convalescent plasma, one of several experimental treatments for covid-19, taking plasma from someone who's recovered, giving it to the critically ill. A process I know first hand. While covering the nation's first hot spot in Washington state. We've just seen another person load up in this ambulance. I tested positive for the virus. I think I've got a lot of quarantine time ahead. After recovering, I wanted to help, so I donated my plasma. The golden plasma. Reporter: In hopes it would aid in someone's recovery. For Lashley it was just one part of a complex treatment plan. On his final days in rehab, the doctor would learn how to get in and out of the car. Three weeks ago I couldn't take but one or two steps. Reporter: Going home presents a series of new challenges. I've got to start learning my environment, learning obstacles I didn't know were there before because I didn't have these issues. After three months we're so ready to have daddy home, right, guys? Who's most excited? Hey, dad! Hi, daddy. Reporter: Doctor Lashley finally leaving the hospital you just walked out of here. How does it feel? That was my goal. When I first came here I could take one or two steps and sit down and rest. I said I'm going to do it. I'm going to walk out of here when I leave. I told you I'd walk out. Reporter: How does it make you feel when you were able to see that real progress? Well, it's heartwarming. It definitely reminds you of the blessings that we have in life, and to see somebody so motivated and work so hard to make a dramatic recovery, that's why we wake up in the morning and come here and do the things that we do. It gives us real joy. Reporter: That joy and the smiles of his children would wouldn't let him go during our interview. One at a time, okay? We'll start here. What are you most excited to do with your dad when you get back home? Play with him. Go swimming, go on bike rides. Reporter: We got a long list. What about you? Love on him many go eat crawfish with him. There you go! That is exciting. Season's almost over. Just in time. Reporter: As cases and hospitalizations and deaths continue to surge across this country, what is the message you want people to hear after your experience with this virus? When I see that death toll, you know, I know now the impact on families, on people's lives. I think people need to practice the social distancing. Wear your mask when you can, you know. Wash your hands. Be kind to each other. We've got to do that. We're going to get through this, but it's going to take some
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