Nurse paralyzed from COVID-19 complications returns to Florida after months in Massachusetts hospital

National Coronavirus Coverage

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 23-year-old nurse from Florida returned home Monday after spending months recovering from COVID-19 complications at a Massachusetts hospital.

Desmon Silva was placed on a ventilator last summer after becoming paralyzed from the neck down due to complications from the coronavirus, according to his family.

“It has been long-awaited and highly anticipated,” said Silva, who also told his family he was most excited to see palm trees, sunshine and sit by the pool again.

His family raised money to have him flown to Massachusetts for additional care over the summer. There, doctors diagnosed him with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM, a disease that attacks the central nervous system.

On Monday, he was able to return home to Florida thanks to Jet I.C.U., the company that donated his flight.

“To see Desmon happy again being back in Florida is everything to him,” said his father, Jose Silva.

“We’re all healthcare workers together. We’re all in this together. Once we found out that he was a nurse and Tampa Bay resident, we decided we had to jump in and help,” said Jet I.C.U. Medical Director Jared Wayt.

“We weren’t sure how we were going to get home, so we do appreciate it,” said Desmon’s stepmom, Lynette Silva.

Desmon Silva has a long road ahead. He will need around-the-clock care at his home, advanced therapy, a handicap-accessible van, and other medical expenses.

He said he hopes to one day walk again and return to work as a nurse.

He said he’s very grateful for all of the support, medical staff and Jet I.C.U. for helping in his recovery.

“They all played a pivotal role in my recovery, as well as saving my life,” Desmon Silva said.

If you would like to help, click here to donate to his medical fund.

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