‘I’m a miracle’: Hutchinson man reflects on his battle with COVID-19 after flatlining twice

Coronavirus in Kansas

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — If you ask Bob Ratley Jr. what he thought of the coronavirus a few months ago, he will admit he didn’t think it was a big deal.

“I was one of those that thought it was a political thing, and then I thought well it’s just a common cold thing. Until it hit me,” Ratley said.

He has been in the hospital battling COVID-19 for two months, the majority of that time on a ventilator. The virus almost winning twice.

“I ended up dying here at the Hutch hospital and they revived me and then in Wichita the same thing. I coded and they revived me there, too,” he said.

Ratley says his time in the hospital was a blur. However, he didn’t lose sight of what was waiting for him at home.

“I didn’t realize how bad off I was, and I think what brought me back is I hadn’t seen my wife, my grandkids or my other kids, and I was thinking about them,” he said.

Ratley is now off the ventilator and COVID free.

“I’m a miracle and not too many people survive what I’ve gone through,” the COVID survivor said.

He is still on the road to recovery, relearning the basics in rehab.

“The walking, talking, I get short breath, just everyday living things that you take for granted,” Ratley said.

He said, throughout his battle, one thing was constant – the support from the Hutchinson community. Friends and family rallying for Ratley with drive-by parades outside of the hospital and fundraisers.

Ratley said the support was extraordinary.

“Everybody pulls together and it’s like a huge massive pay it forward. I’ll get all choked up, they have done so much for me and my family.”

Ratley is hoping his experience will inspire people to be proactive and not take risks that could expose them to COVID-19.

The community has set up a GoFundMe page to help his family cover medical expenses. You can help by clicking here.

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