By Susan El Khoury, Investigative Reporter
ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — A St. Louis police officer is grateful to be back celebrating a Thanksgiving tradition after a lengthy battle with COVID-19.
Motorcycle Officer Dave Tenorio helps lead many of the city’s parades. Last year he was forced to watch the Thanksgiving Parade from the sidelines.
“I know that the higher power made sure I’m here today,” Tenorio said. “I know there’s a reason why I’m still here.”
Doctors and nurses at St. Luke’s Hospital lined up outside to cheer on St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer Dave Tenorio as he left following a lengthy battle with COVID-19.
Tenorio was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April 2020. He spent weeks in St. Luke’s Hospital, where doctors said he was so sick they had to put Tenorio on a ventilator the day he arrived. Doctors said the ventilator stopped working so they used an ECMO machine, short for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Doctors considered the machine a last resort.
“It kept him alive long enough for his body to heal his lungs,” Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Jeremy Leidenfrost explained on the day Tenorio was discharged.
Officer Dave Tenorio visits the doctors, nurses, and medical staff at St. Luke’s Hospital who helped him fight COVID-19.
Last November the police department cleared Tenorio to get back on his motorcycle. Tenorio said one of the first places he wanted to go was the hospital to thank the doctors and nurses who helped him.
“That was truly one of the most special days for me,” Tenorio recalled. “I wanted them to see that everything wasn’t always ending in a bad way.”
For Tenorio, this Thanksgiving parade marks a milestone in his recovery. He credited the many people who stopped him along the parade route for helping drive home what matters most.
“People don’t realize just how much you need love and support from other people, not just your friends and family but strangers,” Tenorio said. “I’m just so extremely, extremely grateful to everyone who helped me get back to where I am.”
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