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67-year-old woman visiting for holidays survives COVID-19 after being placed in coma and on ventilator

COVID-19 survivor Donna Whedbee received a homecoming that almost never happened.
COVID-19 survivor Donna Whedbee received a homecoming that almost never happened.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It’s an amazing story of survival for a COVID-19 patient who had been in a coma.

She was hospitalized seven months ago and on Tuesday, she was finally released from rehab.

For Donna Whedbee, she received a homecoming that almost never happened.

“The lord kept me going,” she said. “Without God, I wouldn’t have ever made it, but he has something new inside for me. He saved me for a reason.”

It was December of last year when Whedbee first tested positive for COVID-19.

Her health deteriorated rapidly, and the 67-year-old was placed into a coma and on a ventilator.

“I didn’t know what day it was, time or anything,” she said. “They had me suspended in a bed, they had to flip every 16 hours on my back or on my stomach. I had tranche, I had everything. But I’m here.”

Whedbee’s condition was touch and go, even as she was moved from a hospital to the Fort Lauderdale Health and Rehab Center.

That’s where a newfound family of caregivers spent the past seven months reteaching her how to walk, talk and eat again.

Donna’s 86-year-old mother and her sister, who both contracted Covid around the same time, were among the loved ones surprising her on Tuesday with balloons and signs on her way out.

“We are just so thankful this day is here,” said Joey DeRemigis, Whedbee’s brother. “We just wanted to rejoice and wanted everybody to celebrate.”

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.