Texas couple marries at San Antonio hospital as fiancé battles COVID-19

Nurses at Methodist Hospital organized the wedding for the couple

SAN ANTONIO – With so many uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, one Texas couple knew the luxury of time was not on their side.

Fernando Nino, 42, became ill with COVID-19 in September. His fiancée, Michele Herbert, said most hospitals told her that Fernando would not survive.

“It’s extremely difficult to see the person that you love almost die, several [times], over and over. It’s really tough to see them not being able to breathe,” Herbert said as she sat by his hospital bed.

However, Nino was chosen to receive ECMO life-support therapy at Methodist Hospital. According to Methodist officials, he remained in the Lung Rescue ICU for several months.

Both Herbert and Nino decided not to wait any longer to get married and chose Nov. 17, Michele’s birthday, as their wedding date.

Nurses from the ICU organized the wedding, decorating with balloons, flowers, and a cake to celebrate, Methodist officials said.

When the day came, Herbert wore a white wedding dress and walked down the “aisle”, which was a hallway lined with nurses who had been helping in Nino’s recovery. At the end of the hallway was the chapel where he was waiting, still on life support, with a reverend who would officiate the marriage.

“It was better than I imagined. It was a wonderful feeling because I couldn’t ask for more than just him being alive. I didn’t imagine that we’d ever get married,” Herbert said.

Officials said the two celebrated with a champagne toast and a traditional wedding cake tasting. And towards the end, Herbert thanked the staff for helping save her husband’s life.

“Thank you all so much for everything that you’ve done and do every single day. Not just for him [Fernando]. But you all work endlessly; it is amazing that you can work day in and day out and still continue through the bad. Thank you for not giving up, and thank you all so much for doing all the work that you do,” Herbert said.

Herbert contracted the virus from Nino, but her symptoms were mild because she was vaccinated.

Nino remains on the ECMO machine, but doctors say his prognosis is positive.

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About the Authors

Emily Martin is the KSAT Insider Membership Producer. She earned a journalism degree from Texas State University, where she was news director at KTSW, the campus radio station. She has also interned at KXAN and KUT in Austin.

Brina is the Executive Producer of the NightBeat and KSAT Explains. She has been with KSAT since 2015. She is a Houston native and proud to call San Antonio home.

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