Brian Lundstram, 79, was hospitalized at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Murrieta in early April with COVID-19. After spending 23 days on a ventilator, he is breathing on his own.
“We’re not sure where he even got it,” his daughter Stephanie Redmann said. “About three weeks ago, he got admitted to the hospital and immediately was put on the ventilator.”
Due to safety restrictions at the hospital, visitors are not allowed, and so Lundstram’s kids, grandkids and 80-year-old wife can’t be by his side.
“After 58 years, it’s the first time they’ve been apart that long,” Redmann said of her parents.
The couple had made each other a promise, their daughter says, to be with each other at the end of their lives.
The family says they tried to stay positive despite learning that studies show a large percentage of COVID-19 patients on ventilators don’t survive.
“We kept saying well we’re not gonna think about that today. We’re just gonna pray and then we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow… It was just an emotional roller coaster,” Redmann said.
Then on Monday, hospital staff called and told Lundstram’s family that he was off the ventilator, breathing on his own and alert.
“He definitely beat the odds,” Dr. Ihab Dorotta of the Loma Linda University Medical Center said. “It is very rare for a 79-year-old man, especially with COVID, that needs mechanical ventilation in excess of 3 weeks, to make a recovery.”
Lundstram is still in the intensive care unit of the hospital but his family says getting over the ventilator hurdle gives them hope that he will recover. They say they are grateful for the medical professionals who are risking their own lives to help save his.
“They could’ve just said, I’m sorry, we can’t do anything else and they didn’t. They just kept trying something new,” Redmann said.
His family says if his condition continues to improve, he could be out of the ICU in a few days.