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After 70 days in hospital for COVID-19, Centerville woman returns home

41 days spent in ICU
Posted at 7:07 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 22:11:37-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The last 70 days have been an up-and-down journey for Michelle Liechty.

Michelle, who is from Centerville, spent more than two months at St. Mark's Hospital in Millcreek.

"I was busy doing my normal things, started to have a hard time breathing, and so my regular physician told me to go to the hospital and that's when it all started," she said.

Doctors say Michelle had COVID-19, which eventually led to respiratory failure.

She would spend 41 of those 70 days in the ICU, fighting for her life on more than one occasion.

"Her heart stopped, and the week after that she had a mucus plug, which she kept fighting and they kept fighting for her," said Mariah Liechty, Michelle's daughter. "They hands down saved her life three specific times on top of her single organ failure."

While the road to recovery has been far from easy, Michelle has taken it in stride.

She has worked through physical therapy and other hurdles, all with her sights set on returning home.

"I'm walking, which I didn't, I really didn't think I would be able to walk, at least not as soon as I did. They told me that with my help, that I've succeeded and exceeded all of their expectations," Michelle said.

Tuesday afternoon, a "Clap Out" ceremony was held for her.

She walked out to the hallways lined with people who played a part in helping her get back on her feet.

Most of those people donned shirts that read "Michelle's Miracle" on the front, and more than 100 names of those who helped her — known as "Michelle's Angels" — on the back.

It's Michelle's recovery that Dr. Jared Johnstun, a pulmonary and critical care Doctor at St. Mark's, says makes this such a special day.

"I mean, most people in her situation — do they make it? No. To say that Michelle is a miracle is an understatement. She is by far the sickest person that I've seen do the best," said Dr. Johnstun.

That's why Dr. Johnstun says Michelle can give hope to so many other patients.

"She's the reason that we fight, and the reason why ... we've tried so hard," he said. "And to have someone do as well as she has, made all those nights and all those days and all that hardship worth it."

For Michelle's family, they are grateful this day was made possible.

"How many families don't get to experience this after something that we've been through?" Mariah said. "I think she's just going to keep going stronger."

As for Michelle, she is just happy to be headed home.

"I just want to say thank you for that opportunity to live and be here today," she said.

Michelle says she is looking forward to seeing her dog, Theo, and getting to spend more time with her family.