NYC surgeon beats severe COVID, runs marathon


Dr. Kato runs marathon (NewYork-Presbyterian)

NEW YORK CITY (WPIX) — A surgeon who fought just to stand on his own after he beat severe COVID-19 ran the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Just weeks after the first case was diagnosed in the city, Dr. Tomoaki Kato contracted the virus. He went from doing surgery on a set of conjoined twins to needing saving himself in just one month, a spokesperson for NewYork-Presbyterian said.

“I almost died,” he said.

On March 25, 2020, Kato was admitted to the hospital. Days after being put on a ventilator, his case took a turn for the worse; he was teetering on multi-organ failure, doctors said. Kato was put on the advanced life support system ECMO. When he eventually woke up, he was confused and hallucinating. Kato went to a rehabilitation facility on April 27, 2020, and spent nine weeks healing there.

Kato had done several marathons before, but he wasn’t sure he’d even be able to run again after his recovery.

“Marathon was something that I was able to do before COVID, so I really feel like if I can do this, then I can put some closure on this, you know, COVID story,” he said.

Kato completed Sunday’s marathon in just over 5 1/2 hours.

“It was something very special for me,” he said.

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