Coronavirus News: Westchester hospital credits proning for giving COVID-19 patients new hope

SLEEPY HOLLOW, Westchester County (WABC) -- An old technique is giving doctors and coronavirus patients new hope at a hospital in Westchester County.

Carlos Alba Garcia, 65, received a well-deserved round of applause as he headed home from Northwell's Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow on Friday.

He spent a total of 53 days in the hospital recovering from COVID-19.

Garcia says that he was very depressed at first, but had faith in God and his doctors.

So what saved Garcia? According to his doctors, an old technique called proning that involves placing a patient face down to clear more oxygen into the lungs.

It is now being used on some COVID-19 patients, primarily those who are sedated and on ventilators. But Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, of Northwell Health Critical Care, says they are now proning patients who are awake and not on ventilators.

Doctors say their goal is to prevent the patients from going on ventilators in the first place, because statistically, they don't do well once they're intubated.

Dr. Hildred Machuca, a pediatrician who has now been redirected to the Phelps Proning Team, said another reason it's so successful is because COVID-19 patients don't have to struggle alone.

They say it clearly was successful for Garcia, whose oxygen levels are now as strong as his determination.

Garcia says that he hopes patients fight for their lives the way the doctors fight for their patients.

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