A comatose Florida woman on a ventilator with COVID-19 stunned her family when she suddenly woke up more than a month later — the day she was expected to be taken off the ventilator.
Bettina Lerman, 69, a Florida resident who had not been vaccinated, visited Maine with her son Andrew Lerman to help care for his cancer-stricken father, who also contracted COVID-19 but has recovered, CNN reported.
After becoming infected with the deadly bug, Lerman was admitted to Maine Medical Center in Portland on Sept. 12 and was placed on a ventilator nine days later, according to the network.
Doctors told the family they didn’t expect her to make it as her condition worsened.
“We had a family gathering with the hospital because my mom didn’t wake up. No matter what they did, they couldn’t wake her up,” Andrew told CNN. “They said her lungs were completely destroyed. There is irreversible damage – that it just isn’t going to happen.”
Bettina, who planned to get the shot when she got sick, has multiple underlying medical conditions, including diabetes. She had also had a heart attack and had quadruple bypass surgery two years ago, her son said.
The family picked out her coffin and headstone as they prepared to say goodbye, he said, adding that he and his siblings flew to Tavares, Florida to cancel their mother’s lease and donate many of her belongings. , the Washington Post reported.
“It was the end of the line,” Andrew told the newspaper.
But on October 29, the day they planned to take her off the ventilator, one of her doctors called.
“He says, ‘Well, I want you to come here right away.’ I thought, ‘Okay, what’s going on?’” Andrew told CNN. “He says, ‘Well, there’s nothing wrong. Your mother woke up.’”
He told the Washington Post that he was “completely beside myself,” adding, “I dropped the phone because I was going to be finishing the ventilator that day.”
A hospital spokeswoman told CNN that Bettina is in serious condition, but due to privacy laws, she was unable to release additional information.
Andrew said she had no organ failure and no one really understands how she is doing so well.
“My mom is very religious and so are a lot of her friends, the church and everything else and they’ve all prayed for her,” he told CNN. “So they can’t explain it medically. Maybe it’s on the religious side. I’m not that religious, but I’m starting to believe there’s something that helped her. I do not know.”
Andrew said his mother can breathe on her own for a few hours at a time with some oxygen support, rather than a ventilator.
“She knows where she is, who she is—she’s as sharp as a spear,” he said. “Usually, when someone comes out of such a coma, they say that the patients have a delirium where they are very confused. She hasn’t experienced any of that from day one.”
More than 768,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the US since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Andrew told WMTW that his mother plans to get vaccinated after her recovery.
“I think it’s the right thing to get you vaccinated, so if one of our family members gets it again, it won’t be that bad,” he told the outlet. “We give her words of encouragement every day. We tell her to keep fighting,’