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Health care workers ensured man wasn't alone when pandemic kept family from visiting hospital

Steven Gauthier could not see his family for nearly two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

BRADENTON, Fla — A now recovered trauma patient who went months without seeing his family due to the coronavirus pandemic, returned to the hospital on Thursday to say thanks to the men and women who saved his life. 

It wasn't that long into the pandemic when Steven Gauthier, 54, got into a serious car crash in Parrish. 

The former Navy pilot from Florida's panhandle suffered several crushed bones and head trauma and was airlifted to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton as a result.

That's where he stayed isolated from friends and family for nearly two months. 

Because of the ongoing pandemic, Gauthier was not allowed to have any visitors. But, as he got on the road to recovery, the doctors in his intensive care unit started to feel like family as they worked to save his life.

"If you see all the surgeries I went through. I mean, my heart quit for 8 or 9 minutes at one point, 20 days after I got here. I was touch and go for a long time," Gauthier said.

The many surgeries were successful and Gauthier was eventually allowed to go back home, but a proper thank you was never given until Thursday.

Gauthier said he was in and out of a coma throughout his recovery and doesn't remember much of those days.

However, that's why he says his reunion was an important step in his healing process.

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