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Man tracked down 116 healthcare workers who helped him beat COVID-1 to thank them

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  • A New York man who was left in a medically-induced coma for a month after contracting COVID-19 the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, spent five months tracking down the 116 healthcare workers who helped save his life, CNN reported. 
  • Jeff Gerson became critically ill with a 103 fever, shortness of breath, and a cough back in March and was soon placed on a ventilator. 
  • When he woke up all he wanted to do was thank the people who helped him survive, but didn’t realize it would be 116 people. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A man who spent a month in a medically-induced coma after becoming ill with COVID-19 early in the pandemic set out to track down and thank all the healthcare workers who helped him beat the virus, CNN reported. 

Jeff Gerson spent five months tracking down what ended up being 116 healthcare professionals at the NYU Langone Tisch Hospital who helped save his life. 

“I just feel tremendously grateful and lucky,” Gerson told CNN. “The story if there is one, is not necessarily that I survived, but that these people saved my life. I really felt the need to find them, get their names, and thank them.”

Gerson was put on a ventilator the day after he showed up at the hospital with a 103 fever, shortness of breath, and a cough back in March. He tracked through insurance documents and MYChart, and reached out to workers he knew to help him track down the rest of the caregivers who helped him. 

“Except for the nurses that I was directly interacting with, there really wasn’t an opportunity to say thank you to anybody. It left a void in my emotional recovery,” Gerson said. “Here I am having survived, I’m crying with joy every morning, and I feel a huge debt of gratitude to these people who I can’t even talk to because they’re not coming into my room.”

At least 15.3 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 with over 289,000 deaths. Healthcare systems across the US have been strained by an influx of COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, the COVID Tracking Project reported a record 106,688 COVID-19 patients in US hospitals. 

Many healthcare workers especially those who worked in hotspots throughout the pandemic have said they felt burnt out by the caseload but also felt morally obligated to work and provide the best care for their patients. 

Dr. Sandra Till, a pulmonologist and critical care intensivist at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, told Business Insider in June during a rise of cases in Arizona that she was working as much as 90 hours a week. 

In Gerson’s case, healthcare workers also did everything they could to help him even though he had gotten sick early in the pandemic when a lot less was known on how to best treat the virus.

Dr. Luis Angel, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist who was one of Gerson’s doctors, told CNN that while he was just doing his job, Gerson’s gesture was meaningful for him. 

“You see the significant amount of work that he did and somebody that very likely was going to die in the hospital, makes a full recovery, and then he’s able to say thank you is very meaningful for us,” Angel said.

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