A man who spent 42 days in hospital with COVID-19 has recovered from the disease at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

Wilifredo Merlin-Montoya (Willie), 25, was discharged Wednesday afternoon. Hospital staff celebrated his dismissal with a parade in the lobby of the hospital.

Merlin-Montoya was one of the first COVID-19 patients at Texas Health Fort Worth. He went to the ER with symptoms, including shortness of breath and a high fever. He was intubated for 23 days and received convalescent plasma therapy, a treatment for people with severe respiratory damage caused by the new coronavirus. The treatment, also known as a blood plasma transfusion, is only offered at a limited number of hospitals across the country.

“We were surprised how quickly he went from speaking with us to needing immediate care,” said Kelli Long, M.S.N., R.N., C.N.M.L., manager of the Medical Surgical Progressive Care Unit at Texas Health Fort Worth.

Merlin-Montoya was reunited with his brother and girlfriend on Wednesday. He had no contact with them in the hospital except over the phone.

“We’ve seen a lot of sick patients, and to see a patient success like this is very emotional and encouraging,” Long said.

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