NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) — A surgeon who fought just to stand on his own after he beat harsh COVID ran the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Just weeks after the first case was diagnosed in the city, Dr. Tomoaki Kato contracted the virus.
“I almost died,” Kato said. He went from doing surgery on a set of conjoined twins to needing to be saved himself, all in the span of just one month, according to a spokesperson for New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
On March 25, 2020, Kato was admitted to the hospital. Days after being put on a ventilator, his case took a turn for the worse. Doctors said he was teetering on multi-organ failure, so they put Kato on the progressive life sustain system ECMO.
He ultimately woke, confused and hallucinating. Kato went to a rehabilitation facility on April 27, 2020, and spent nine weeks healing there.
Kato had done several marathons before, but he wasn’t sure he’d already be able to run again after his recovery. “Marathon was something that I was able to do before COVID, so I really feel like if I can do this, then I can put some closure on this COVID story,” he said.
Kato completed Sunday’s marathon in just over 5 1/2 hours. “It was something very special for me,” he said.
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