BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – When one COVID-19 survivor left the hospital almost four months ago, just days after being taken off a ventilator, he promised he would be back to say thanks.
On Tuesday, David Jackson fulfilled that promise with a smile on his face and gifts in his hands for the Beaufort Memorial Hospital staff members he calls his heroes.
“What can you say to someone who saved your life? Thank you doesn’t seem like enough,” David said.
He spent a month in the hospital and was on a ventilator for two weeks.
“They improvised, they adapted, they overcame and they won — and I won,” smiled David.
“People say ‘you are that guy, you are the miracle, you are the hero,” he said. “I tell them ‘no, no, no.’ The heroes are in this building and the miracles are here. These are the heroes, not me.”
His wife, Rebecca, joined him Tuesday to say thanks to the people who saved him.
“We often call them our angels,” said Rebecca. “They saved his life and they brought him home to me. So we are out here to show them how much we care and how much we appreciate everything they did.”
“It makes me appreciate them even more,” she continued. “It reminds me all over again even more so to appreciate what they did for Dave and I can see how sincere and hard-working and caring they all are when I see them face to face like this. It is just wonderful.”
News 3 caught up with David on the day he was released from Beaufort Memorial:
“We go home we don’t have to think about it,” said David. “They go home they gotta get up in the morning put on the uniform, come here, fight this war, this World War that we are fighting right now every day and be worried they will go home, give it to a family member, give it to a friend. Its what you do and I don’t think you get enough credit for it because people are trying to move on but every day you try to fight the same war until the war is over you are going to fight.”
The Jacksons weren’t the only ones feeling the love.
The nurses and doctors who treated David, one of their first COVID-19 cases, were all smiles as well.
“Hearing about a patient who has come out of this and is on the other side now is uplifting to people knowing what we are doing,” said Dr.Matthew T. McLaughlin M.D., a Beaufort Memorial critical care physician. “This is where we want to see people coming from the ICU coming back here saying hi to us.”
“It means everything,” said Brittany Johnson, an intensive care nurse. “It is why I became a nurse to get people better to take care of people. It’s a passion that we have. It is not just a job, Its why we do it. “
“To have someone come back and to hear what our care meant to them. It is so meaningful. and it really is why we do what we do,” said Cindy Mastrine, a surgical unit nurse who treated Jackson.
“They are genuine when they tell you that this is not just a job, its a calling,” David said. “And its something they take very seriously. But every life that they touch touches them back.”
“I cannot in 1,000 words tell you how much these people mean to her and I and to my family and my friends around the world,” he said. “Because without them, there would be no me.”
Jackson is still using a walker, and his voice is still raspy from the breathing tube. But he says he is getting stronger every day.
His long term goal? To walk a 5K race to prove that a COVID-19 diagnosis is not a death sentence.