‘I was kind of on the brink of dying’: COVID-19 survivor shares battle, thanks frontline workers for saving her life


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – After weeks on a ventilator, a Lexington woman is sharing her story of survival, and she’s thanking the frontline workers who she says saved her life.

“I was kind of on the brink of dying. I was right there, ready to go,” Leah King said.

Now a COVID-19 survivor, King says she’s alive and off a ventilator to tell her story only because of her doctor and nurses.

“He’s using everything he can to take people that got as sick as I did and pull us away from dying. Giving us a chance at life,” King said.

After six weeks at Baptist Health, 22 days of those spent in a coma, King says she wants to use this new chance at life to show her gratitude for Dr. Mark Dougherty.

“When you’re as sick as I was, you kind of lose your pride. There’s really nothing left to hold on to. But they’ve gone out of their way to make me stay human internally,” King said.

A seemingly impossible feat six weeks ago, King is expected to make a full recovery with a little scarring on her lungs, and after plenty of encouragement from one of her nurses.

“Whenever I passed the next test, she looked at me and said ‘You did this. You did this for yourself.’ She was just a real good cheerleader,” King said.

After weeks away from her husband and son, King could easily be consumed in the loneliness.

“Sometimes you get forgotten.”

But not this time. Instead, she says she feels thankful for the nurses who didn’t give up and didn’t let King give up on herself.

“I would say ‘I’m so sorry for keeping you here, away from you families on the holidays.’ They’d say, ‘Well this is what we’re here for, this is why I became a nurse,” King said.

In the next steps on her road to recovery, King will be transported to a rehabilitation clinic Wednesday to start physical therapy.

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