SALT LAKE CITY – The last 70 days have been an up-and-down journey for Michelle Liechty.
Michelle, who is from Centerville, spent more than two months at St. Mark’s Hospital in Millcreek.
“I was busy doing my normal things, starting to have trouble breathing, and then my GP told me I had to go to the hospital and that’s where it all started,” she said.
Doctors say Michelle had COVID-19, which eventually led to respiratory failure.
She would spend 41 of those 70 days in the intensive care unit and fight for her life on more than one occasion.
“Her heart stopped, and the following week she had a mucus plug that she kept fighting with, and they kept fighting for her,” said Mariah Liechty, Michelle’s daughter. “They saved her life three specific times on top of her individual organ failure.”
Although the road to recovery has far from been easy, Michelle has taken it in stride.
She has worked through physiotherapy and other obstacles, all with the aim of returning home.
“I go, which I did not, I really did not think I would be able to go, at least not as soon as I did. They told me that with my help it has succeeded and exceeded all of their expectations , “said Michelle.
On Tuesday afternoon, a “Clap Out” ceremony was held for her.
She went out into the hallways with people who were helping her back on her feet.
Most of these people wore shirts that said “Michelle’s Miracle” on the front, and more than 100 names of those who helped her – known as “Michelle’s Angels” – on the back.
It is Michelle’s improvement that Dr. Jared Johnstun, a pulmonary and emergency physician at St. Mark’s, he says, makes this day such a special day.
“I mean, most people in her situation – can they handle it? No. To say Michelle is a miracle is an understatement. She’s by far the sickest person I’ve seen doing the best,” said Dr. Johnstun.
That is why Dr. Johnstun says Michelle can give hope to so many other patients.
“She’s the reason we’re fighting and the reason we’re been trying so hard,” he said. “And getting someone to do it as well as she did made all those nights and all those days and all the hardships worth it.”
For Michelle’s family, they are grateful that this day became possible.
“How many families are not going to experience this after something we’ve been through?” said Mariah. “I think she’s just getting stronger.”
As for Michelle, she’s just happy to be on her way home.
“I just want to say thank you for the opportunity to live and be here today,” she said.
Michelle says she is looking forward to seeing her dog, Theo, and getting to spend more time with her family.