NEW YORK - Shrille White thought it was the end of the road.
“I was very scared, very nervous, didn’t know what the outcome was,” she said.
The 55-year-old, who has severe asthma, spent almost 2 weeks on a ventilator after being diagnosed with COVID-19 back in April.
“She developed COVID pneumonia, COVID respiratory failure, significant lung injury and she required intubation,” said pulmonologist Dr. Arthur Trust with Northwell Health.
But the Valley Stream woman miraculously made it out of the hospital with a crowd of staff cheering her on.
She thought the worst was behind her but doctors say the Valley Stream woman developed tracheal or windpipe scarring known as tracheal stenosis where she was literally trying to breathe through an airway hole smaller than the opening of a straw.
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She underwent a tracheal resection where doctors removed a section of her windpipe and stitched the ends back together.
"We identify the bottleneck and physically remove it. We put a large suture between the chin and chest wall and it stays there for about a week," Dr. David Zeltsman said.
Doctors say White’s condition very well could have been life-threatening if it wasn’t caught early on.
She continues to improve but has a long road ahead including monthly checkups to make sure the airway, which connects the voice box to the lungs, stays clear.
“I’m a fighter,” White said. “I won’t give up and I will continue to push forward.”