ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A St. Louis City Police Officer thanked the team at St. Luke’s hospital for saving his life. Officer Dave Tenorio spent three and a half weeks at the hospital on a ventilator battling COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic.
”Every time I see how close I came to dying, it’s very hard for me to imagine,” Tenorio said.
Officer Tenorio was the first COVID-19 patient in the area to be treated with ECMO at St. Luke’s hospital. Similar to a heart-lung bypass machine, ECMO is used to pump and oxygenate the patient’s blood outside the body, replacing the function of the lungs and heart.
With the treatment, the support of St Lukes’ staff, and his wife by his side, the officer walked out of the hospital in April.
“My family at St. Lukes are the absolute best in the world and I could never have gotten to where I am until now without them,” Tenorio said.
“He really made it look easy,” Dr. Jeremy Leidenfrost said. “Most patients who are on ECMO can’t walk afterwards, they have to have extensive rehabilitation and a lot of times, they have been lying in bed for two to three weeks while the lungs heal. It was incredible for him to be able to walk out of the hospital.
“ I don’t know what we would have done without all the prayers and support and love from people we had so much encouragement,” the officer’s wife, Kathy Tenorio said.
Tenorio is a motorcycle officer and on Wednesday, he made a surprise visit when he
rode up to greet the hospital staff to thank them once again.