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This article is written by Mayo Clinic staff.
When Robert Pintor picked up his wife's cough in November, they both knew they should get tested for COVID-19.
Pintor, a scheduling supervisor at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, understood the impact the pandemic was having on the community but never imagined how sick he would become. He had no underlying health conditions, but within days of being tested at an urgent care center, he was so short of breath he told his wife to call 911.
He remembers talking with hospital staff near his home in Maricopa about whether he would need to be intubated. And then he remembers nothing, for months. He was one of eight COVID-19 patients transported to Mayo Clinic in a highly specialized ICU on wheels called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) transport.
Pintor remained on ECMO for 91 days. He regrets missing holidays, birthdays and his daughter’s early days of preschool, but he is grateful to all of the staff — his Mayo Clinic colleagues — who cared for him.
After 121 days as a patient in his own workplace, and much anticipation, he was discharged on March 24.
What does he most look forward to now? Walking again, spending time with his daughter and wife, and getting vaccinated, he says.