Healthcare worker walks for first time in 1 year after contracting COVID-19

Peter Woullard, a behavioral health technician at St. Charles Parish Hospital, tested positive for coronavirus on March 31, 2020.

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A frontline worker in New Orleans has walked for the first time one year after contracting a severe case of COVID-19 early on in the pandemic. 

Peter Woullard, a behavioral health technician at St. Charles Parish Hospital, tested positive for coronavirus on March 31, 2020. 

Peter Woullard, a frontline worker in New Orleans, has walked for the first time since contracting a severe case of COVID-19 a year ago. (WDSU)

“I went to work that morning. I was feeling fine with a temperature of like, 96.7 or something like that,” 53-year-old Woullard told WDSU. “By 12 hours later, I had a temperature of 103.”

He said that after a week and a half, his symptoms worsened, forcing him to return to the hospital where he worked for emergency treatment. 

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“Within three hours that I’ve got him there, they had to intubate. His kidney had already failed,” said Woullard’s wife, Patricia. “He had a bleed on his brain. He had dialysis. He coded six days later. So that’s when the family was called in to come visit him because they didn’t think he was gonna make it.”

Woullard had a stroke two weeks into his hospital stay and suffered devastating nerve damage. He spent five months in several different medical facilities and has had extensive physical challenges since contracting the virus. Likely to suffer long-term disability in its aftermath, Woullard said he was previously an avid sports enthusiast who now loses his breath easily. 

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“I have nerve damage in certain areas of my body and also weakness,” he told CNN Monday. “From just laying in one position for so long, it took a lot of my strength from me.”

Woullard says having his ability to stand and walk is a “blessing.” His wife calls it a “second chance” from God. 

The family recently set up a GoFundMe effort to help with his extensive medical expenses. 

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