LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- The man who was a Long Island hospital's first COVID-19 patient to survive after being put on a ventilator reunited with hospital staff one year later.
Scott November of Northport was so sick with COVID-19 in March 2020 his family was told by staff at Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital to say their good-byes.
But the 67-year-old's family refused to accept that they were losing their beloved husband and father and they made sure everyone at the hospital knew a whole lot about him.
His three children and five grandchildren did everything they could to encourage November and hospital staff, making posters mentioning that he had been married for 43 years, that he met his wife at Nathan's, and reminding them he was a person, not just a patient.
"One of the things it said was, 'World's Greatest Dad', so we used to joke, 'let's go in there and save the world's greatest dad, come on,'" nurse Katie Kelly said.
"She Facetimed us twice a day so we could talk to him. She played our music for him. We set up a Spotify and it played his heavy metal and his 80's rock music," Remy November, Scott's daughter, said.
That was one year ago and November's case stands out now because he was the very first COVID-19 patient on a ventilator at Huntington Hospital to survive.
"The day we got him off, I remember it was like day 14, I called up his wife on the phone and I could barely hold it together, saying he got off the ventilator," Dr. Scott Gross said.
November and the staff believe what saved him was an innovative technique called "proning" where patients are turned over to lay on their stomachs which helps to clear their lungs and breathing, with the assistance of the machine, easier.
"When I'm an active covid patient and these very brave nurses -- 6, 8 of them, a whole team -- did it," Scott November said.
He says he's now doing better than ever; he's lost 40 pounds, he walks three miles a day, and he's about to start a new job.
Maybe most noteworthy, November says he has no lingering signs of the disease.
"Some people really leave a mark on the nurses and it is so helpful when they come in and you just see that they're doing good and everything we did mattered," Kelly said.
November hopes his story inspires others to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to keep wearing masks and social distancing.
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