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Flags placed at Orem hospital for COVID-19 victims, survivors, heroes

Tooele man who beat survival odds attends
Posted at 9:38 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 00:26:20-04

PROVO, Utah — Larry Barney spent more than three months in intensive care at Timpanogos Regional Hospital and was given a slim chance of survival.

As the United States surpassed its one-millionth COVID-19-related death, Larry and his family were on hand at a ceremony on Monday, honoring families, caregivers and hospital staff who were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I didn’t know that my life was on the line when I was laying in that hospital bed until I saw the chaplain," Larry said. "That’s when I kind of put it all together that they knew more than I did and that my last moments were coming.”

He is now out of the hospital and back with his wife Chelsey and young son Leo.

“It’s amazing; we get to play the drums together," Larry said. "I love it; I have a whole new outlook on life."

Larry's wife Chelsey spent each day by his side. While his condition didn't improve for weeks, she never gave up.

“It’s overwhelming to be back here," Chelsey said. "To think that we almost weren’t at this point, we almost didn’t have this.”

Flags covered a courtyard area at Timpanogos Regional Hospital on Monday afternoon. Green flags represented coronavirus survivors, white flags represented COVID-19 deaths and blue flags were placed by people who acted as caregivers to COVID-19 patients.

“I hope that the worst is behind us," said Natalie Ficklin-Holliday, a patient advocate at the hospital who personally worked with the Barneys and said she never saw Larry with his eyes open during his hospital stay. “Seeing him doing so well and seeing him with his son is what touches me the most... He will be able to watch his son grow.”

Larry's miraculous recovery isn't over. He still requires oxygen support, is on daily medications and attends physical therapy. His journey has inspired others at the hospital who are continuing to look to the future as COVID-19 continues to impact the world.

“Larry spent an enormous amount of time very close to death," said Dr. Neil Rosenberg, an ICU physician at the hospital. “He’s really become the vision that we all fight for every time someone rolls through our hospital doors.”