Florida woman battling COVID-19 details permanent damage to her limbs

Southeast

MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — Rosa Felipe has been in a Miami hospital for the last eight months, ever since contracting COVID-19.

Felipe was working as a healthcare technician monitoring patients’ brain activity at Jackson Memorial when she tested positive for the virus back in March.

“I came to work and I noticed I wasn’t breathing as good as I should be. I said let me go to the ER,” Felipe said.

Just days later, Felipe, who has asthma, was put on a ventilator. And she stayed on that ventilator for two and a half months.

“I had vivid dreams and nightmares. Bad, bad nightmares,” Felipe said.

Because she was on life support for so long battling the virus, it impacted the circulation in her limbs.

The tissue in most of her fingers died, and doctors says she will lose all but three of her fingers.

She is in rehab at Jackson Memorial where she is relearning how to do everything from charging her phone to using the restroom.

“I honestly thought I would be home for Thanksgiving. It would have been just like the icing on the cake to come so far, to work so hard, to overcome something people think is a joke. I can sit here as a living example and tell you COVID affects people in so many different ways,” Felipe said.

She says it is frustrating to see people not taking the virus seriously.

“Not to be so selfish. Even if you don’t want to protect yourself, protect others who are vulnerable. There are so many people who are vulnerable,” Felipe said.

Wearing masks is hard to enforce in Florida because Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order not allowing cities to fine people who break rules. DeSantis is concerned about the impact restrictions have on small businesses.

COVID-19 cases in Florida, like much of the country, are rising.

In Miami Beach, they are giving out citations that even the mayor admits are essentially meaningless because there is no fine attached.

“We decided over the last week as we have seen this come up, we are going to have police offer free masks and if they don’t take the mask we are going to give them a citation. How effective this is, I don’t know. But with this surge we are feeling right now it is important,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

With a vaccine on the horizon, Felipe is hoping her story will encourage people to take precautions for the final stretch.

She’s optimistic she will finally be released from the hospital in a few more weeks, and get home to her two young sons in time for Christmas.

“It is what keeps me going. Every time I want to give up on therapy, every time I feel like the task they assigned to me is something I cannot do, I just imagine me possibly going home and making them a sandwich or reading them a book. Doing things we used to do before,” Felipe said.

A GoFundMe account has been set to help Felipe with her medical expenses.

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