Community holds celebration for COVID-19 survivor

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Family and friends of Patrick Dalton gathered to celebrate his homecoming after spending the last several weeks in medical facilities battling COVID-19.


24-year-old Patrick Dalton went to the hospital feeling ill on March 30. He had difficulty breathing, coughing and a fever. He tested positive for COVID-19 and was also diagnosed with double pneumonia and strep throat. According to his mother, Felicia Dalton, he was treated with zithromycin and hydroxychloroquine, but his breathing did not improve.

By April 2, he was put on a ventilator.

“We had to watch him walk into the hospital alone on Monday, weak and breathless, not knowing when we would see him again. That was gut wrenching. No visiting. No holding. No touching my baby boy.”

From a Facebook post by Patrick’s mother, Felicia Dalton

Patrick was not the typical COVID-19 case. He was young, healthy and had no preexisting conditions. He remained on the ventilator until April 12.

When his condition did not improve, doctors decided that he needed to be transported St. Thomas West in Nashville to be put on an ECMO machine. ECMO machines pump the patient’s blood outside of the body, giving the heart and lungs a chance to rest.

Patrick stayed at St. Thomas West from April 12 until May 14. On the 14th, he was finally given the clear to go to a rehab facility where he could be visited by his family. He stayed in rehab until May 27 and is now home with his family.

Welcome home Patrick!

After spending 46 days in different medical facilities, Patrick is now home with his family and cleared of the virus. To celebrate, family and friends gathered at his former high school, Christian Academy of Knoxville, to show him love and support.

To maintain social distancing, it was a drive by. Everyone wore PPE, each car driving by, with the passengers waving to Patrick and welcoming him home.

After seeing the scary side of the virus up close, Patrick’s family says they’re happy to have him home and healthy.

“Don’t ever think for a minute that it’s not a real disease because it is and it can be very deadly. It’s real, it’s dangerous, it almost took our son,” said Tony Dalton, Patrick’s dad.

“It was just kind of humbling knowing that somebody that was a college athlete and has always been strong and healthy and strong will power, strong mind, strong everything, strong body. To see him go through that was confusing at first but it was also kind of like a snap back to reality that this could happen to anybody,” said Alex Dalton, Patrick’s brother.

Patrick still has a ways to go before he is fully himself again, but he says the support of his family and community help him to keep going.

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