71-year-old veteran with coronavirus off of ventilator after more than 3 weeks | WHEC.com

71-year-old veteran with coronavirus off of ventilator after more than 3 weeks

Charles Molineaux
Updated: April 27, 2020 11:10 PM
Created: April 27, 2020 09:33 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Rochester veteran is showing signs of improvement in his fight against coronavirus.

71-year-old Erskine Latimer has been in Strong Memorial Hospital on a ventilator for more than three weeks, which is usually not a good sign. But his family says he’s been showing signs of improvement.

"Just being the man he is, he fought and I am proud of him,” his daughter, Kim Hardy said. I am proud of him."

Hardy and her sister, Yavonda Matidi, say their father has always been healthy, but when he ended up in intensive care at Strong at the end of March, they admit it was terrifying.

"Every day, people are losing their lives to coronavirus,” Hardy said. “People that I personally know have lost their lives to coronavirus."

Still, she said she tried to stay hopeful.

"Definitely, there were days that I was more or less fearful,” Hardy said. “I never doubted what God could do but it was definitely, definitely fearful.”

Latimer is an Army veteran, and at 71, he's in a highly vulnerable population.  

He was put on a ventilator for more than three weeks. 

Still, even with a tube down his throat, his daughters say he kept trying to communicate, which gave them hope. 

Strong isn't allowing visitors but Latimer and his daughters were able to see each other in video calls until he was finally taken off the ventilator and was able to speak again.

"It's just good to hear him just wanting to talk,” Matidi said. “He's not a big talker but he's been talking since he's been awake!"

"And I said 'Just go and say it, Dad. Just say 'Thank you Jesus,' And I think that was one of the first things I heard him say: 'Thank you, Jesus!'" Hardy said.

Not that he sounds the same. Matidi says her dad's deep baritone voice is now more like a whisper and the family has no illusions about the long recovery still ahead.

"But he made it. He made it like I don't… He made it, and he's making it," Hardy said.

"And I cried, cried, I cried and I was just so overjoyed,” Matidi said. “I had so many tears over the last month with sadness but these were just some joyous happy tears, finally."

Latimer's daughters live in Buffalo, and since they can't set foot in the hospital, they haven't come to Rochester.

They say he could get out of intensive care Monday night or Tuesday.

They don't know when he can get out of the hospital but whenever that happens, they say they'll be here and everyone will know.

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