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After 98-Day Battle With COVID-19, Wichita Man Makes Grand Exit From ICU

Courtesy Wesley Medical Center
Antonio Santiago leaves the hospital after 98 in the ICU.

After nearly 100 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Wesley Medical Center, a COVID-19 patient is finally home.

Antonio Santiago entered Wesley back in August. He says there were moments in the hospital where he wasn’t so hopeful.

"I thought I was going to die."

Ninety-eight days later, nurses and hospital staff lined up to send Santiago off.

While being escorted out of the hospital, he had a smile so big not even a mask could hide it.

"I’m so happy to be back in my home again," he said. "God allowed me to be back here with my family and friends."

Hanna Reeder is one of the nurses who helped Santiago during his battle inside the ICU at Wesley.

"It means everything to us to be able to see patients go home and especially after a long fight," said Reeder, the clinical nurse coordinator for Wesley’s Medical ICU. "It’s been pretty tough here. We’ve had some hard losses that we’ve had to deal with.

"So the wins are just that much better for us."

Although it’s a tough job, Reeder says moments like Santiago’s homecoming keep the team going.

"To see them go home after being here for so long, that’s what helps us continue doing what we’re doing and keeps us here," she said.

Santiago is still on his road to recovery. He says there are still some lingering issues but he is thankful to be at home surrounded by loved ones.

This story was produced as part of the Wichita Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of seven news organizations — including KMUW — working together to bring timely and accurate news and information to Kansans. The effort is supported by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.