Fred Szoch was finally discharged on Monday after months spent fighting for his life against the novel coronavirus.
Szoch, a 69-year-old Lower Burrell resident, spent the last two and a half months at UPMC St. Margaret Hospital in Aspinwall battling the novel coronavirus — officially labeled COVID-19 by the World Health Organization — to survive. The disease has waged a bitter global war with humanity in 2020, and Szoch is one of the millions who has faced it personally.
He spent 21 of those days in a medically-induced coma, and for much of that time, the outcome was uncertain to say the least. “You just didn’t know which way it was going to turn,” Szoch’s brother Ted said. “I never knew what the next phone call was going to bring.” But against all odds, Fred made it. He exited the hospital to the cheers of the medical personnel that saved his life.
Szoch also credits God for bringing him back from the brink of death: “I think it’s a remarkable story of faith,” he said. “Something more than me has contributed to this, and I feel like I was surrounded by angels with the nurses and the therapy staff. I thought the doctors were just totally amazing. UPMC, they never gave up. Never gave up on me. And that’s really a wonderful thing to have happen to you.”
Now, Szoch is feeling grateful and excited to start a hopefully less traumatic chapter of his life. “I am happy — delighted — to go and see what’s ahead,” he said. “It really makes you appreciate life. Life is a precious commodity.”