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Survivor Story: LIJ-Valley Stream doctor goes from battling for patients to fighting own battle

In early March, Dr. Joseph Marino found himself in the thick of the COVID-19 crisis. As chief medical director at LIJ-Valley Stream, Marino was on the front lines treating patients.

News 12 Staff

May 21, 2020, 12:21 AM

Updated 1,516 days ago

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A local doctor is sharing some vulnerable moments as he battled the coronavirus.
In early March, Dr. Joseph Marino found himself in the thick of the COVID-19 crisis. As chief medical director at LIJ-Valley Stream, Marino was on the front lines treating patients.
"Because of how COVID affects the patients, putting them into respiratory distress, we had to intubate a lot of patients, put a lot of patients on ventilators," says Marino.
During the peak of the pandemic, he intubated 30 patients in five days. Marino, a retired Army Major, says he put fear on infection aside as he and his staff battled to save lives.
But on March 26, Marino began his own personal fight against the virus.
"I can't forget it. I woke up that morning with a pretty good cough. So I took a swab that time and it showed I was positive," says Marino.
Marino quarantined himself in his basement, away from his wife and kids. He says it was the sickest he has ever been.
"After 10 days of fever and chills and 10 days of trying to negotiate through that, and then when the pneumonia hits and then you're having problems taking deep breaths, it starts to get a little scary," he says.
Marino had oxygen sent to his home to help him breathe. Notes of love and friendship were the best medicine.
Marino came back to work on Easter, which also happened to be his birthday. He says returning to work was a gift to himself, because he was excited to be back with his staff.
"One of the reasons why I couldn't wait to get back and help was analogous to me leaving my platoon and getting injured, and I couldn't wait to come back and be with my fellow soldiers," he says.
PHOTOS: Coronavirus Survivors
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