Santa Ana Police Department sergeant recounts near-death experience with COVID-19

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Santa Ana Police Department Sgt. Mike McCarthy was fit, happy and healthy until COVID-19 knocked him off his feet.

McCarthy says his lungs collapsed and doctors felt like they were losing him.

McCarthy spent the holidays in the ICU.

He missed his daughter's birthday, Christmas, New Year's, his wife's birthday.

He believes he contracted the virus while out on a call at a homeless encampment. He had no idea COVID would take him down within days. Doctors moved him to a ventilator, intubating him just to keep oxygen flowing through his battered lungs.

RELATED: Santa Ana Police Department sergeant battling COVID-19 leaves ICU after 52 days
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A Santa Ana Police Department sergeant is back at home with his family after spending 52 days in the ICU with the coronavirus.



McCarthy says there were about a 100 people in the ICU considered high risk and a lot of them didn't make it.

McCarthy got so sick he knew any hour could be his last. He needed a Hail Mary.

He says he thought about his kids and his family. He says you always think you have time, until you don't. He remembers the nurses telling him to keep fighting and not to give up.

Near death, he dropped more than 50 pounds. The ICU ward was his home for more than 50 days. He thought about the nearly dozen officers in his department sickened by COVID and surviving. He vowed despite the odds, he could survive as well.

He started getting better and better, eventually improving enough to go home.

He says getting to go home by Valentine's Day was a blessing.

He left the hospital to cheers from his family and law enforcement colleagues. He credits their love for helping give him the courage to live.

He says prayers from his family and law enforcement brought a lot of them together.

McCarthy says his recovery will take nearly a year. Then he plans to get back into his uniform and put on his badge to once again protect and serve.

He is thankful to the medical staff treating him. He says they are the true heroes.
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