LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Palm Springs nurse who is in a monthslong battle against COVID-19 is in need of a lung transplant, which would make him the first patient sick with the virus in California to receive such a procedure.
Cesar Millan spent 85 days at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica after contracting the virus from one of his patients while working in Palm Springs.
"I started having shortness of breath and that's when I started going down," Milan told ABC7.
The ICU nurses and doctors who cared for him say it was especially difficult for Millan as he would hear what they were saying about his condition and understood the severity of his illness.
"I could just imagine that he was so scared. He knows how deadly this virus is," said nurse Jessica Moiseyev.
While in the hospital, Millan communicated with his wife and two children on Zoom as much as they could. The hospital staff tried to bring him as much happiness as they could.
"They made me cry. They treated me like a brother," Millan said.
On Tuesday, he was transferred to USC's Keck School of Medicine to wait for the lung transplant, but he still has a long road ahead.
Doctors in California haven't yet performed a lung transplant on a COVID-19 patient. Doctors say only a handful of people around the world have received the procedure.
"Increasingly these patients, especially the young ones who survive COVID, are coming out of it with really tremendous damage to their lungs," said Dr. Terese Hammond.
Now, doctors are hoping Millan will be considered for the national transplant waitlist, which is tough to get on and even tougher to get lungs.