Long Island man hospitalized for 10 months with COVID returns home

EAST MEADOW, Long Island (WABC) -- A Nassau County man who spent 10 months in the hospital battling the coronavirus was finally able to go home on Friday.

Paul Uffer, 52, of East Meadow, went into the hospital on April 24. He spent six months on and off a ventilator - from May until November.

"He almost died three times," said his wife, Gayle Uffer.

Paul Uffer was released on Friday from the Northwell Health Stern Family Center for Rehabilitation in Manhasset.

He would not take credit for his recovery, saying, "it had very little to do with me."

He thanked all the doctors, nurses and therapists who helped him. Uffer had been in four different facilities throughout the 10 months.

"A lot of really good people, the places I've been, they got me through a lot," he said.

Uffer also thanked his family and friends for their support.
Gayle Uffer has been there for her husband before. She gave one of her kidneys to him in 2013. She said for the first few months her husband was in the hospital, she was a wreck.

"Everyday at the beginning, we were just praying for anything - just tell me he's stable," she said.

Uffer's three children - ages 24, 22, and 19 - watched over the phone as their father left the hospital. They are away at school.

"We're all just very, very happy that we can now finally put this behind us," said Josh Uffer.

Uffer's mother, Carol Uffer, said she has seen her son only once in 10 months and it was from a distance - he was being loaded into an ambulance.

"He had a lot of people praying for him," she said, almost in tears. "He's just so strong. He surprised all of us."

Debbie Kolodny, Uffer's sister, said her family understands how blessed they are to have their loved one coming home.

"We recognize that there are half-a-million families in this country that do not have somebody coming home, so, for us, we're overwhelmed," she said.

Uffer had encouraging words for people hospitalized with COVID: "Keep fighting. As bad as it is now, it can get better," he said.

Uffer works in facilities management for the New York City Department of Education and hopes to return to work next week. In the meantime, he said he's looking forward to a home-cooked meal.

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