coronavirus illinois

COVID Survivor Receives Vaccine From ER Doctor Who Saved His Life Last Year

After a man from the Chicago area survived a severe case of the coronavirus, the doctor who saved his life in the emergency room administered his COVID-19 vaccine nearly one year later.

Michael Catania was admitted to the emergency room at Advocate Condell Medical Center last year when the pandemic was arriving in the U.S., according to a release.

Dr. Halleh Akbarnia met Catania in the emergency room and visited him daily in the coronavirus intensive care unit, the healthcare system said. Catania had to be intubated and resuscitated several times until he was able to be discharged after 15 days.

After keeping in touch for almost a year, Catania said when he received the invite to get the COVID-19 vaccine, he requested that Akbarnia administer it.

On Thursday, the 69-year-old rolled up his sleeve and received the his dose from the doctor who saved life nearly one year ago at the same hospital in Libertyville.

“This means everything,” Akbarnia said. “It was almost like I was hoping he was going to ask me to do this. To me, working this side of giving vaccine is about the biggest therapy that I could have. Giving him his shot was the ultimate.”

Catania said he credits the doctors who treated him with saving his life and considers Akbarnia family.

“I asked Dr. Akbarnia if she would give me the second shot and if that was possible because I wanted us to share that as a closure on the whole event,” Catania said. “We started the journey together, we’re ending the journey together and I wanted that to be a part of what we both experienced.”

Here's Catania's message to people hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

“Get the shot. It’s not worth messing around with. Get the shot and wear a mask, and don’t do one or the other. Do both.”

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