COVID-19-related illness leaves Largo nurse paralyzed from neck down

A nurse paralyzed by a COVID-19-related infection is on his way back home to Florida after spending months recovering in a Massachusetts hospital.

For 23-year-old Desmon Silva, nursing is nothing new. His mother, father and step-mother are all nurses. A family with a passion for helping people now find themselves on the receiving end getting support from all over the country.

"The support is ridiculously amazing. It's humbling," Silva's mother Barbara Bonnett.

Courtesy: Desmon Silva

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For the last eight months, Bonnett has been close by as her son recovered in a Massachusetts hospital.

Last July, Silva was out to dinner with his girlfriend when he started having neck pains. Within minutes, he lost feeling in his hands and was rushed to the hospital. By the time he got there, he was unresponsive, placed on a ventilator, and rushed into the ICU.

Courtesy: Desmon Silva

"I just had to do whatever I could in order to get to Florida. Took the next flight out. Went to Florida. At that point, Florida was a red zone so there were no visitations whatsoever in the hospital so that was challenging," Bonnett said.

Moments after arriving at the hospital, doctors determined Silva was paralyzed from the neck down.

Bonnett says he did test positive for COVID-19 about two months before he was rushed to the hospital, but says his case was mild and he did recover. However, COVID-19 weakened his immune system and he developed an infection known as ADEM, which is a disease that attacks the central nervous system.

Courtesy: Desmon Silva

As of right now, Silva's doctors are still studying his case and trying to understand why his infection forced him to become paralyzed.

"We focus on one day at a time, but I'd be lying to you if I told you we're not thinking about the future. We talk to Des all the time. He's a firm believer things are going to happen in his favor," Bonnett said.

Silva was set to arrive in Florida around 11:30 a.m. Monday thanks to Jet ICU, who offered him a ride home for free.

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