After spending 93 days hospitalized with COVID-19 last year, Michael Orantes is finally healing and is urging others to get vaccinated against the deadly virus.
Orantes, 33, was on a ventilator and spent two months in the intensive care unit at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood. When he was released in July 2020, he was in a wheelchair and had a tracheostomy tube to assist his breathing.
Orantes visited the hospital Wednesday to thank the staff for their care and to express his gratitude in person.
“The most difficult thing, obviously, was I was in doubt that I’d see my family one more time, especially my daughter … who I love above all things,” Orantes said outside Centinela Hospital a year after his release.
The 33-year-old, who got vaccinated along with his entire family, is now urging Angelenos to get the shot so they don’t have to experience what he did. He says he’s knows he lucky to have survived.
“The risk from dying from this disease, or spreading this diseased to your significant others or to people that you care for, is extremely high,” his doctor, Dr. Paryus Patel, told KTLA during the reunion Wednesday. “Recently with the delta variant, what we saw, that little spike after July 4th, every patient that we see … was unvaccinated.”
Orantes has spent the past year recovering, regaining muscle strength and putting healthy weight back on after losing a whopping 65 pounds while fighting the virus. He even got married and is now back to work.
The young father had just returned from a trip to Spain at the end of March 2020 when he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Orantes didn’t have any underlying health conditions and was considered to be a healthy young man, Dr. Patel told KTLA. But his condition deteriorated and he ended up spending two months in the intensive care unit, hooked up to a ventilator and intubated on maximum settings, according to the hospital.
With help from a medical team, Orantes pulled through and was strong enough to leave the hospital and reunite with his now 3-year-old daughter, whom he’d seen only through FaceTime during his lengthy stay at the hospital.