3 months in a coma, local man beats COVID

Vlad Laroche is going home on Friday

The steps were slow and shuffling, but they were steps.

And for Vlad Laroche, that means recovery.

“I’m thankful to God,” he said. “He made it happen. He brought me back.”

Laroche is a physician in West Palm Beach.

In April, he was admitted to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center with COVID-19.

He spent months in a coma on life support.

Now, he’s awake and on Friday, he’s going home.

“God touched him, picked him up with his own hands and got him home,” said Paul Laroche, Vlad’s brother.

Doctors at the hospital said they had to be creative as they worked for months to keep Laroche alive.

“We just kept faith,” said Dr. Ribal Darwish. “We just kept facing challenges, and every time we had a new challenge, we had to come up with a new solution.”

Darwish said one of those solutions was is something called a Hemolung, a machine that removes carbon dioxide from the blood and replaces it with oxygen.

It allows the lungs to rest and heal.

Doctors also used a medication called Dornase Alpha, normally only prescribed for patients with cystic fibrosis.

Darwish said Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center is the only place using it to fight COVID-19, and he hopes other hospitals are paying attention.

“I think many lives can be saved if they are going to utilize some of the treatments that we are utilizing here at Palm Beach Gardens,” he said.

Vlad Laroche said there’s no question it definitely saved his life.

“They were guided, you know?” he said about his doctors. “I would not have made it if I was in any other setting.”

Paul Laroche compared his brother’s recovery to the feeling he got holding his newborn children.

“I don’t know if there’s anywhere beyond that in terms of happiness,” he said. “But whatever that is, utopia, I’m there.”

Laroche has no plans to go back to work any time soon.

He said he will just spend the next few months regaining his strength and reminding people that COVID-19 is not something to take lightly.

“People have to wear masks, socially isolate, maintain your distance,” he said. “If you don’t have to go out, stay in your place.”