After 101 days hospitalized, COVID-19 patient returns home

Wed, Jul 8th 2020 01:00 pm

Russell "Rusty" Browning is finally going home after 101 days of hospitalization and quite the tour of Catholic Health's facilities.

First diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March at Mercy Hospital, he survived 67 days on a ventilator at the Catholic Health Covid-19 Treatment Facility at St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga.

Browning spent the longest time on a vent and in the ICU than any other surviving patient at the treatment facility.

Today, Browning heads home after 21 days at Kenmore Mercy Hospital's Medical Rehabilitation Unit where he went through intensive therapy.

"Our post-COVID patients relearn how to swallow and walk unassisted; build up his strength and endurance; regain cognitive abilities; and work toward returning to an independent life," said Dr. Nadeem Hussain, MD, medical director of the Medical Rehabilitation Unit.

Prior to contracting the virus, Browning, age 63, was very active, rollerblading, swimming, and biking.  He and his wife Dolores live in Blasdell and have three daughters and seven grandchildren. A master electrician, he started his electrical business, Sub-City Electrical, in 1989.

His family never gave up hope and prayed every day for his recovery.  "One day, Rusty was a little more awake, responding a little more to verbal cues, and then the next day, he was full-on awake and talking," said John LaForge, ICU nurse manager at the Catholic Health Covid-19 Treatment Facility at St. Joseph Campus.