She spent 150 days with COVID. Miami woman leaves hospital after ‘unbelievable’ recovery

Madeleine Marr
·2 min read

Five months. That’s how long Isabel Pupo was in the hospital being treated for COVID-19 and pneumonia.

The Miami Beach woman, 55, was admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center in July, and released back in November, CBS4 reported.

Mount Sinai confirmed the long stay and unbelievable recovery to the Miami Herald on Monday.

At many points during her hospitalization, doctors doubted Pupo would make it. Multiple times, her oxygen levels were considered “unlivable.”

The patient’s pulmonologist, Dr. Ari Ciment, told the Herald on Monday that Pupo’s oxygen saturation levels were 65 percent for two days — way below normal.

Normally, a person’s oxygen levels, as measured by the oxygen saturation of his or her blood, range from 95 to 100 percent. Levels below 90 are a major cause for concern as there is not enough oxygen feeding the body and its organs.

Isabel Pupo of Miami Beach spent five months at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach with COVID-19.
Isabel Pupo of Miami Beach spent five months at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach with COVID-19.

Ciment is overheard in CBS4 footage of Pupo smiling in bed saying that he is so “proud of her,” and calling her recovery “unbelievable.”

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“I actually told the family on numerous occasions, unfortunately, that she was going to pass away and we are going to have to stop [treatment],” Dr. Steven DeBeer, a cardiothoracic surgeon, told the TV station.

Put on lung machine for 67 days

Due to her being overweight with a high BMI (body mass index,) Pupo was put on an ECMO, which stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The artificial lung machine did the breathing for 67 days while she lay in a medically induced coma.

After her extended hospitalization, Pupo was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Hollywood for the next three months. The Cuban native is back home with her family, she told the Miami Herald Monday.

She recounted how she thought she contracted the coronavirus.

“I arrived at home from my job as a cashier at a supermarket over the summer feeling terrible, and I assume I got it there,” said the mother of two, who is still getting therapy on her left hand.

Pupo, who has yet to return to work, thanked all the doctors, and attributed her amazing comeback to her faith and good genes.

“I am a strong woman,” she said Monday. “Look, before this, I had never gotten sick. But this was, Wow. I thought it was going to kill me. It’s proof that God exists and COVID is not a game.”