HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A former Kelsey-Seybold clinic employee has finally returned home after battling COVID-19 for seven months and ultimately having to undergo a lung transplant.
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Irma Butron said she started feeling sick in January after coming back from visiting her parents in Laredo.
Days later, she tested positive for COVID-19, and she wasn't the only family member to have contracted it.
Her husband, Julio, her daughter, her brother and her parents all tested positive for the virus. Unfortunately, her brother and parents died from complications due to the virus weeks later.
"I knew they were sick, and I couldn't do anything about it. It was so hard," said Irma.
Julio said he rushed his wife to St. Luke's Hospital after seeing how bad she was struggling to breathe. When doctors told him Irma would have to be put on a ventilator, he said he thought he was going to lose his wife of 36 years.
"I thought that was it for her," he said. "She was barely breathing."
Then doctors told Irma she would need a double lung transplant.
"It was one of the worst times of my life," Irma said. "It was very scary because sometimes I thought I would fall asleep and not wake up."
After months in the hospital and having limited communication with her family, Irma said she grew depressed.
"Doctors told me not to get depressed because then the surgery might not be successful," she said.
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A successful surgery took place in May, and Irma is still doing physical therapy as part of her recovery.
"I'm taking it one day at a time," she said.
Now, her family says they need help covering medical expenses.
"She is struggling to afford necessary medical equipment and assistance due to the lack of insurance," a family member wrote on a GoFundMe page.
According to the page, Irma has been billed by the hospital for over $6,000. Another $7,000 is needed to go toward medications she will need.
If you would like to help the Butron family, donations are welcome on Irma's GoFundMe page.
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