NYC surgeon beats severe COVID, runs marathon after his recovery

Local News

Dr. Kato runs marathon (NewYork-Presbyterian)

NEW YORK — A surgeon who fought just to stand on his own after he beat severe COVID ran the New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Just weeks after the first case was diagnosed in the city, Dr. Tomoaki Kato contracted COVID-19. He went from doing surgery on a set of conjoined twins to needing saving himself in just one month, a spokesperson for NewYork-Presbyterian said.

On March 25, 2020, Dr. Kato was admitted to the hospital where he works, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Days after being put on a ventilator, his case took a turn for the worse; he was teetering on multi-organ failure, doctors said. Dr. Kato was put on ECMO. When he eventually woke up, he was confused and hallucinating. Dr. Kato began acute rehab in the hospital on April 27, 2020 and nine weeks after he was first hospitalized, he was discharged. 

“I almost died,” he said.

Dr. Kato had done several marathons before, be he wasn’t sure he’d even be able to run again after his recovery.

“Marathon was something that I was able to do before COVID so I really feel like if I can do this, then I can put some closure on this, you know, COVID story,” he said.

Dr. Kato completed Sunday’s marathon in just over 5 and a half hours.

“It was something very special for me,” he said.

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