Florida nurse flying home after months-long treatment in Boston for post-COVID-19 paralysis

BOSTON — Desmon Silva is finally flying back home to Florida Monday after spending the last seven months recovering in the Boston area. His mother, Barbara Bonnet, said her son was paralyzed from the neck down from COVID-19.

“Des is super excited to get back home, I don’t even know if he’s going to sleep tonight,” Bonnet said. “Since July it’s been a ride up and down like a rollercoaster.”

Bonnet said her son was a healthy 22-year-old nurse working on the frontlines at a hospital in Tampa when he got COVID-19 last summer.

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“Two months after this happened, it kind of laid dormant in his system, and it just attacked the immune system as well as his spinal cord and central nervous system,” Bonnet said. “It was very acute, very fast that it happened, and at that point it just shut everything down.”

Now, several months later, Desmon is still paralyzed but doing better after getting treatment at MGH followed by months of rehab. Bonnet said it’s time for her son to get back home to his friends and other family members in Florida.

“We heard about the case, he’s a local, so it hits home,” said Jared Wayt, director of Emergency Medical Services at Jet ICU. “It’s extra special when we’re able to take care of one of our own, you know, we’re all healthcare providers going through all this together.”

Jet ICU is based in Tampa, Fla. where Desmon lives. Their airplane transported Desmon to Boston back in July and now they plan to fly him home to Tampa free of charge Monday.

“So, it’s like a 10 passenger private aircraft, which we retrofit a stretcher and ICU pod in there, so we’re a flying intensive care unit,” Wayt said. “So we can manage pretty much any patient any modern intensive care unit would in a hospital, but we do that at 40,000 feet.”

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Bonnet said that flight usually costs more than $25,000, so she’s beyond thankful the company is bringing her son home for free.

“It just goes to show that even through the pandemic that he’s bringing out the good in people,” Bonnet said.

Bonnet hopes her son’s story will serve as a reminder for people to not let their guard down in the face of COVID-19.

“No parent should go through this, no person should go through this at all,” Bonnet said. “It’s a lot you know, it has definitely not only humbled us, but it made all of us take a look at life a little differently, you know, that it’s not promised.”

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