San Antonio man survives COVID-19, returns home after spending 150 days in three different hospitals

Tony Lopez will need to learn how to walk again after spending months in a hospital bed

SAN ANTONIO – As he was wheeled out of Baptist Medical Center downtown to cheers and applause, Tony Lopez held a handwritten sign that read, “Going Home after 150 Days.”

Lopez had been in three hospitals when his nightmare began during the historic and deadly winter storm in February.

Even with a raging fever, “He was putting gas in the generator so his family wouldn’t freeze to death,” Lopez sister, Nora Bigley, said.

She said her brother was hospitalized three days later.

Lopez, his wife and three children had all come down with COVID-19, but he took the brunt of it.

When told his oxygen level had dropped to the point he needed to be put on a ventilator, Lopez said he refused until he learned it was the only way possible to save him.

“A month and a half later is when I woke up,” he said.

However, like many recovering COVID-19 patients, Lopez had been in bed so long, he’ll have to learn how to walk again. He also said his bouts with pneumonia badly scarred his lungs.

But Lopez said he knows he also has the continued support of his large extended family, who’ve been there for him since his long ordeal began.

“They were out here waiting to take turns to get inside the hospital to go to see me,” Lopez said. “They went through a lot themselves.”

His family said they are grateful to everyone, from the doctors and nurses to the housekeeping staff members at Mission Trails, Kindred Hospital downtown and Baptist Medical Center.

“We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for taking care of him,” Bigley said.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.