COVID, double-lung transplant survivor finally going home


LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)- An update now to a remarkable story of survival we first told you about last month.
Victor Gonzales-Villatoro of Adair County was given little chance of surviving COVID-19 after the virus ravaged his lungs. Nearly six months and a double lung transplant later, Villatoro is getting ready to get out of Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington.

“He’s really come a long way,” said Villatoro’s physical therapist assistant Joe Townsend of Cardinal Hill. “He’s really surpassed what I anticipated him being able to do here.”

Townsend has been working with victor since he arrived at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital nearly two weeks ago after being released from U.K. Hospital.
He says the progress victor’s made is nothing short of a miracle.

“Because with a lung transplant, we have to monitor oxygen. They have to be on oxygen for a while,” Townsend said. “But he’s (Victor) not even on that. He’s a true fighter.”

Thanks to the help of his physical therapists, Victor can now do the things we often take for granted, like simply holding his own cup.

“I can walk without help,” Gonzales-Villatoro tells ABC 36 News. “And that means a lot, that means a lot.”

Victor was diagnosed with COVID in September. The family was told he probably wouldn’t make it. But his wife, Kerrie, always kept the faith.

“I never gave up and I told them that I’d never give up because I know he has the fighting spirit,” Kerrie Gonzales said. “He just needed time. That’s all it was.

His fight along with the doctors, nurses and supports staff at U.K kept him alive, and on March 1st he received that life-saving transplant..

“It’s been rough, you know? Like a dream,” Victor said.

Still on the road to recovery, Gonzales-Villatoro will continue outpatient therapy. On Tuesday, he will return home with his wife and two kids.

“Fight until the end. Because you can make it, ya know. If you give up, you never know,” Victor said.

Categories: Features, Local News, News