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75-year-old Arvada man who spent a month on ventilator after coronavirus infection returns home from hospital

Doug Summerfield's recovery was called "amazing" by one of his doctors

Doug Summerfield, 75, enjoys his first moments back at his Arvada home on Saturday, May 23, 2020, after spending more than a month in hospitals battling the coronavirus. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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ARVADA — Doug Summerfield knows how lucky he his.

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The 75-year-old Arvada man knows that someone his age, with his asthma, is the kind of patient experts say probably wouldn’t make it through a case of the new coronavirus that was as bad as his.

But on Saturday, Summerfield returned to his home with a view of the foothills for the first time since being taken by ambulance to Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge on March 29. At the hospital, he was immediately intubated and placed on a ventilator and remained on the machine for about a month.

“It sure feels good to breathe fresh air,” Summerfield said as he sat in a wheelchair, surrounded by family and friends who gathered to celebrate his return.

MORE: Colorado doctors now have plenty of experience battling coronavirus — and they’re getting better at it

The Arvada Fire Protection District sent a firetruck and an ambulance — the one, Summerfield’s wife says, that actually transported her husband to the hospital — to join in on the good news.

The ambulance that took Doug Summerfield to the hospital on March 29 visits his home in Arvada on Saturday, March 23, 2020, to welcome the 75-year-old back. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Dr. Joel Strohecker, who cared for Summerfield, called his patient’s recovery “amazing.”

Summerfield, who doesn’t remember much from the days before he fell ill or anything from his time in the hospital, also doesn’t know how he caught the virus. His wife, Mary, never became sick.

“I guess I’m pretty lucky, from what the news says,” Summerfield said. “A lot of people haven’t made it. Considering my age, everybody tells me that I shouldn’t have made it.”

Doug Summerfield, 75, enjoys his first moments back at his home in Arvada on Saturday, May 23, 2020, after spending more than a month in hospitals battling the coronavirus. “I guess I’m pretty lucky,” he said. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Mary Summerfield said she tried to stay positive that one day her husband would come home, but at the same time “had to be a little bit realistic.”

Standing next to Doug on Saturday, her joy was palpable.

“It’s exciting to watch him get stronger every day,” she said.

Rising Sun