Dr. Michael Savino, an ER physician, and his wife, Dr. Denise Wunderler, are no strangers to heartache, having lost a daughter to sudden, unexplainable death, but now Michael, a first-responder, is hospitalized with Covid-19. Here's what it's been like from someone who is experiencing this first-hand.

(Photo from Denise Wunderler)
(Photo from Denise Wunderler)

Michael and Denise have two kids here on earth who are ages 7 and 10, and precious Vienna, now in Heaven. Bad enough these kids lost their little sister in 2017....now their dad is hospitalized, battling hard against this virus. Since both of these parents are physicians, they felt they were capable of trying to treat Michael at home as long as they were able, rather than taking precious resources away from sicker patients.

Michael fought so hard to stay out of the hospital and not utilize the resources that could be used for other patients because, as a frontline ER doctor, he knows all about the shortages in the hospitals and the even higher stress level of every healthcare worker right now.

Here are Denise's words:

"My front line, emergency medicine-trained physician husband is on day 16 fighting COVID-19. We did everything we could do at home for 12 days before his chest was so tight and his breathing so labored that it was time to go to the ED. I didn't think he would make it through the night if he stayed at home. Knowing about the shortages of everything right now, he was trying his best to stay out of the hospital.

He had been on high flow 15L sating in the upper 90s, with unrelenting fevers, pleuritic chest pain, cough, SOB, anosmia, and extreme fatigue. This is so scary.

The fact that my healthy daughter, Vienna, died at 2.8 years old of no explanation (SUDC- Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood) in Nov. 2017, and then my 54-year old sister Carol died of urothelial carcinoma stage IV in Nov 2019, a 3rd tragedy in our family within the last 2.5 years would be unfathomable.

I never wanted to teach my kids about death at such an early age (5 and 7), but I had no choice. Answering their questions about death (especially that of their little sister) is one of the most challenging things these days, and now this.

(Photo from Michael Savino Facebook)
(Photo from Michael Savino Facebook)

Today we had a small glimmer of positivity. I am cautiously optimistic, that the O2 was decreased to 12L (now 10L as of last night, 4/7) and he is still sating in the upper 90s. I know that patients who look "good" can still crash without warning, so I'm not going to get too excited about this.

Knowing one of my med school classmates has a physician sister and a physician dad who are both on vents right now, plus a sickly physician mom who is trying to handle all her COVID symptoms on her own at home...plus my friend has a newborn baby....
I pray and hope all of our family members improve and return back to being the amazing physicians they are. They are all heroes.

And as if all that's not enough to have gone through, Michael, Denise, and the kids also had to move swiftly after an electrical fire in their home last summer (they were able to stay in the same town, and at least caught the fire early enough that no one was hurt.)

This family has been tested and challenged and need your continued prayers. Denise says that as she has been posting online updates about her husband's Covid journey, she has received shares and prayers from thousands of people from various physician groups and others, who are reading and sharing the story.

Denise also wants to add that there has been an amazing outpouring of support, love, and friendship from their community and beyond. Tons of people, some they know, many they don't. They saw it after Vienna died and they had only lived in town for a little over 2 months at that point and barely knew anyone locally. But people were right there helping in ways when they didn't even know they needed help. It is truly remarkable the extend people reached out to them back then, which speaks volumes about the incredible people in the Holmdel/Middletown area and throughout Monmouth County.

Denise says the people here are so amazingly thoughtful, generous and wonderful.  She wants you to know that her family is so thankful.

To find out how you can support Team Vienna, CLICK HERE.

And for more info on SUDC, CLICK HERE.

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