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Mass. EMT Survives Long Battle Against COVID-19

The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.

Twenty seconds worth of steps captured months of hard work.

Todd Beaudet walked out of Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital on his own power to applause and cheers last month.

"They were awesome," said the 49-year-old emergency medical technician about the treatment he received at the Bradford facility.

A father of two boys, Beaudet's battle against COVID-19 coronavirus is truly inspirational.

He spent a total of 107 days hospitalized—46 at Tufts Medical Center in Boston followed by 61 at Whittier after he tested negative for COVID-19.

He was released in mid-July to his Melrose home, where he's using a walker and still immersed in physical therapy, trying to reverse the damage of the infectious virus.

"I had to learn to walk again. It's crazy how it hits people differently," explained Beaudet, noting he was intubated for 40 days at Tufts.

This spring, when Beaudet was released from Tufts and transferred to Whittier, police, firefighters and ambulance personnel lined the highways to support him. Beaudet said he could see all the red and blue lights and apparatus from the back of the ambulance he was riding in.

Many people from his employer, Atlantic/Cataldo Ambulance Service, as well as other ambulance companies, police and fire departments, were waiting from him at Whittier when he arrived.

Beaudet said he knew his boss was going to be there. But he was amazed at the size of the crowd that had gathered to wish him well on the next leg of his journey.

"It was overwhelming. I had tears in my eyes," he said.

He believes he contracted COVID-19 while he was working and exposed to a positive patient.

"At some point. I just don't know when," he said.

A high fever was his initial symptom. Then trouble breathing.

He said there are gaps in his memory from his time at Tufts. His greeting at Whittier Rehab, he said, is unforgettable, though.

"I figured there would be a few people there. I wasn't expecting that," he said.

Beaudet can't say enough about rehab and how everyone there pushed him to "excel and thrive."

An EMT for 26 years, he hopes to get back to work as soon as possible.

And his advice to others is "wear a mask."

"If you don't wear a mask, stay at home," he said.

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