PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - He spent 299 days in the hospital fighting for his life, but late last week COVID patient Alejandro Castro went home.
"I feel happy to see all my family," Castro said. "A little scary but I’m happy to go home."
The 43-year-old spent those nearly 300 days at Providence Portland Medical Center after he contracted COVID-19 in December 2020.
Providence says Castro was put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO.
"Which is the device where we essentially take the blood out of the body and that whole machine does all the work for the lungs," Providence ECMO Medical Director, Dr. Jason Wells said. "It puts the oxygen in and takes the CO2 out and brings it back. So essentially a full lung bypass."
Dr. Wells treated Castro.
He says Castro was on ECMO for 108 days, the longest Providence says a patient's ever been on that treatment at Providence Portland Medical Center.
"Throughout that there were lots of ups and lots of significant downs where you know you couldn't see a path forward for him where he'd make it through," Dr. Wells said.
But Castro slowly started to show improvement and late last week he went home, just in time for his 22-year anniversary with his wife Amanda.
"When he was on ECMO his heart was failing, his kidneys failed, he had to be on dialysis and his body recovered, he – we were told he wouldn’t leave the hospital unless he got a lung transplant – and here we are going home without it cause he is a fighting it – his body is recovering, he’s trying. He may never be 100% but he will be with us," Alejandro's wife, Amanda Chase said.
Dr. Wells says Castro's made significant improvements, but there's still a long road ahead in recovery.
Rehab is in Castro's future and Wells says Castro will need to be on oxygen for the rest of his life.
But it's a huge step for Castro to return home.
One of his nurses shared the incredible emotion in seeing Castro leave the hospital.
"We've seen a lot of death we've seen a lot of suffering from COVID. And just to know that all the work that we did that was worth it," RN Javiera Pobanz said. "And he gets to go home and be part of you know, years from now he's going to look back at this moment and be like thank God they fought for me and that I fought for myself I think because that's what he did."
After his fight against COVID, Castro also shared his outlook on the virus.
"I don’t believe it before – the COVID – but now I believe," Castro said. "I tell everybody be careful this is scary, I’m scared, very scared."
Castro's doctor and nurse say the impact of COVID is going to have on someone is something you just can't predict, and Castro's case is a perfect example.
You can find Castro's GoFundMe account here.