24-year-old COVID-19 survivor reunites with Saint Thomas West health care workers who saved his life

patrick dalton returns to hospital
Posted at 4:40 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 09:49:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A 24-year-old reunited with the health care workers nearly a year after they helped save his life during a battle with COVID-19.

Patrick Dalton, a former Austin Peay football player, spent 46 days battling COVID-19. He was first admitted to a hospital in Knoxville, where he lives, on March 30, 2020, after noticing symptoms of the novel coronavirus. It was there when doctors discovered pneumonia in both of his lungs. Dalton said this is the last thing he remembers before going into a coma.

He was later transferred to Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville to receive extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. He was there until May 27, 2020, when he was discharged from the hospital and finally able to reunite with his family.

During his long stay, Dalton said his doctors and nurses became like family to him.

"One of them wrote me a letter. Another one I had quite often messaged me on Facebook and told me he is keeping up with me and glad that he's getting to see me get better," Dalton said.

On Tuesday, he walked back through the doors of Saint Thomas West to thank the caregivers he credits with saving his life.

"A lot of the people that I am getting to meet, I don't remember that well, obviously," he said. "But it’s good to see that they remember me and that they can see that their work pays off by seeing me up and walking around."

Dalton brought a gift for everyone at the hospital who helped him, which included handmade soap dishes created by his childhood art teacher and soap from a local artisan.