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Reno man returns home after battle with COVID-19


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Updated: Mon 1:04 PM, May 25, 2020

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – It was the day Austin Meegan and his family had been looking forward to for a while.

The 24-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to Renown Medical on April 12, 2020. Nearly a month and a half later, Austin is finally going home.

The medical staff at Renown lined the halls of the hospital in a special send-off for him on Monday, May 25, Memorial Day.

His mother Kristen has been documenting his progress on Facebook. It has not been an easy recovery for Austin. He was on a ventilator for 29 days. He also has a rare blood type, making it especially difficult to find a plasma donor.

But just days after he was admitted, donor Thomas Gibson from Texas, who had recovered from the virus a few months back, flew to Reno to help Austin in his battle against coronavirus.

According to his mother’s facebook page, his recovery was a bit of a rollercoaster. Some days were better than others.

Over time, Austin’s condition started to improve. By May 15, he was off the ventilator.

And now, nine days later, he is back home with his family.

A doctor who helped treat Austin spoke during a press briefing Monday and said Austin had a single-digit survival rate.

“He was as sick as anybody could get and still survived,” said Doctor Tom Herbert. “And the fact that Austin survived this journey was due to his young age. He was a strong young man, and equally the staff, the doctors, the nurses, the staff, the aides, everyone involved in our COVID unit.”

Convalescent plasma is a component of blood from recovered patients that may contain precious COVID-19 antibodies. Renown and UNR Med are currently studying the efficacy of convalescent plasma in helping treat other patients with COVID-19. For more information, click here.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020

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