Ballad Health doctor regains strength, looks forward to work following COVID-19 battle


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Greeneville doctor who contracted COVID-19 tells News Channel 11’s Blake Lipton he is doing better.

Dr. Daniel Lewis is Ballad Health’s Chief Medical Officer for the Greeneville Market. He tested positive for COVID-19 in early April and was later put on a ventilator before being released from Johnson City Medical Center on May 1st.

Dr. Lewis said he was able to return to work for one day this week and hopes to be back part-time next week, as he continues to regain his strength following his battle with COVID-19.

“We usually estimate that it takes two to three days for everyday that your kind of ventilated or down and not very active to regain your strength,” said Lewis.

After nearly a month in the hospital, Dr. Lewis said it’s a bit ironic he contracted the virus.

“I had actually told my wife the week previous that I almost wished if I was going to get it, as long as I thought the case would be mild, I wanted to go ahead and get it over with so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it much going forward,” he said. “I wish I hadn’t said that anymore.”

What started out as fatigue and a persistent fever in late March, led to a positive test in early April.

“There’s always kind of a worry in the back of your mind about how things would progress, then I began to get short of breath and began to have trouble breathing, I knew that I probably needed to get to the hospital,” said Lewis.

The doctor became the patient. He began to experience and irregular heart beat and was eventually placed on a ventilator for 10 days.

“I certainly am strong, and probably stronger in my faith now than I was when I went to the hospital,” said Dr. Lewis. “I feel very strongly that God guided me through and used the healthcare workers that he put in my way to get through.”

On May 1st, Lewis was discharged for rehab, but complications persisted, including a blood clot in his leg. He said his experience will be used to help patients in the future.

“For them to know you’ve actually experienced yourself and really can empathize with what they are going through is very beneficial as well,” he said.

Lewis is thankful for the support from the community.

“It’s been very humbling to see the support that I’ve had for myself and my family from people messaging to bringing meals to sending gift cards and going out to restaurants and not paying for my meal because someone has already paid for it,” he said.

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