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Grandfather recovers from COVID-19, turned 82 on ventilator

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HARLINGEN, TX – A family is celebrating and thankful that their prayers have been answered on a Saturday afternoon.

82-year-old grandfather, Fermin Herrera, was discharged from COVID-19 care at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, Texas.

For the first time in five weeks Herrera was able to embrace his wife Ruth Ann, son Tim and daughter-in-law Judy, from a hospital stretcher before being transferred to a rehabilitation center in Brownsville.

The Herreras are Winter Texans from Missouri and call Harlingen their second home.

Their ordeal began after a trip to Florida in early March when they visited Ruth Ann’s brother, after which they both felt a little off.

“The following Friday after we were back, Fermin came down with a fever and he’s been sick ever since,” said Ruth Ann Herrera, Fermin’s wife.

To make matters worse, Ruth Ann’s brother passed away from a stroke while Fermin was fighting in the COVID-19 quarantine area of Valley Baptist Medical Center.

With the threat of losing another loved one, Ruth Ann, Tim and Judy turned to prayer. “I couldn’t have made it without the two of them,” said Ruth Ann.

“The best way I’ve described it is this has been a roller coaster ride. He might not make it through this and then we’re celebrating because he did something else that was great … it’s life and death. This has been an excruciating ride,” said Tim Herrera, Fermin’s son.

As of Saturday, Cameron County has 18 COVID-19 related deaths all are over the age of 50. Doctors knew Fermin’s chances of surviving were low because statistically he has a higher mortality, being both diabetic and over the age of 80, 

“I would have never thought that I would have been speaking to him on room air, face to face,” said Dr. Raul Reyes, MD describing conversations with Fermin off a ventilator.

Reyes was one of the many physicians caring for Fermin, “It’s something unimaginable and I really do think it’s a miracle,” said Reyes.

“The lord has answered yes in amazing ways today and all along the way and we are so grateful,” Tim said.

Herrera is clear of COVID-19 but his body still has to recover.

On April 9, Fermin turned 82 years old but was attached to a ventilator. Post COVID-19, his family is looking forward to celebrating his 82nd birthday and pray many more are to come.

You can watch the full live video of Fermin being released from COVID-19 here:

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