‘God answers prayers:’ Denver pastor leaves VA hospital after 7 weeks on ventilator with COVID-19

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – The very first coronavirus patient admitted at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora has been released.

Rev. Terrance “Big T” Hughes was admitted March 9, and spent seven weeks on a ventilator that left him in a coma. The effects of the coronavirus left him with lung and kidney damage that forced his wife to make a life-and-death decision.

“Especially when they were talking to me about, ‘Do you have a DNR?’ and I was like, ‘Oh wait,'” Rachel Hughes told FOX31. She also contracted coronavirus, but has fully recovered, and she was one of dozens of family members and church-goers on hand for the reverend’s release from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

In recent days, Rev. Hughes has been improving, and has only used a ventilator occasionally at night. Relatives call his recovery a miracle.

“You know, I think God’s in control of everything,” said Bonnie Hughes, the reverend’s sister.

His family hasn’t seen him in person for 60 days. Their only communication has been via FaceTime. So when the automatic doors at the VA hospital slid open, thunderous cheers erupted from the crowd. Rev. Hughes was wheeled out on a hospital bed and loaded into an ambulance, bound for an acute care center where he’ll continue his recovery. But he quickly said thank you to nurses, doctors, family members and congregants before he left.

“God answers prayers,” Hughes said as he was loaded into the ambulance.

On the street outside the hospital, hundreds of Veterans Administration employees, doctors and nurses lined both sidewalks for three blocks. They were carrying flags, balloons and posters to cheer for Hughes, an Air Force veteran, as he was driven away.

“Oh, that’s just so wonderful, that’s such a blessing, I’m so happy for him,” one worker told FOX31.

Hughes is pastor of the New Covenant Christian Church in Denver, where worshippers have come up with a new nickname for their pastor: “Miracle T.”

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