NY firefighter survives nearly lethal infection

Albany International Airport firefighter Josh Woodward, who was nearly killed by an aggressive septic infection that cost him a hand and toes, was released from the hospital


Mike Goodwin
Times Union, Albany, N.Y.

Josh Woodward, the local firefighter who was nearly killed by an aggressive septic infection that cost him a hand and toes, was released from St. Peter's Hospital on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old left the hospital to cheers, waiting on a stretcher for an ambulance that would take him to Sunnyview rehabilitation center in Schenectady. Woodward is expected to spend several weeks in therapy before being sent home.

While he lost his right hand and toes, Josh Woodward survived a widespread infection that can often be lethal. (Photo/Woodward Strong Facebook)
While he lost his right hand and toes, Josh Woodward survived a widespread infection that can often be lethal. (Photo/Woodward Strong Facebook)

Since shortly after her husband was hospitalized in early February with a septic infection doctors feared could kill him, Chelsea Woodward kept up a steady stream of information about his case on Facebook. She's celebrated his recovery and chronicled his setbacks.

Chelsea Woodward posted the video of his release from the hospital. Within 30 minutes, the post received 700 comments from well wishers.

On Tuesday, Chelsea Woodward said she was preparing for her husband's eventual arrival at home. She said she purchased a number of things to help him continue his recovery at home.

"The next few days he will see every single doctor he has (lots) who have to individually clear him for discharge," she said. "And then he's coming home."

The recovery has been startling. While he lost his right hand and toes, Josh Woodward survived a widespread infection that can often be lethal.

A firefighter at Albany International Airport, he underwent foot surgery on Monday, a procedure carried out by a doctor dedicated to ensuring that Woodward will be able to walk, Chelsea Woodward wrote Monday. The surgery will keep him off his feet for as much as two months and he's learning how to use a wheelchair to get around during the recovery, she wrote.

A tube attached to his gallbladder was also removed, leaving Josh Woodward with only an IV connected to his body.

"Obviously the biggest [news] being Josh's kidneys are functioning and he no longer needs dialysis," she wrote. "They will confirm this is the case with tomorrow mornings blood draw but all signs point to kidney success!"

Josh Woodward has been at St. Peter's Hospital since he arrived at the emergency department there in early February to have pain in his arm examined. He thought it was a pulled muscle, but doctors quickly determined he had an infection that triggered sepsis.

Sepsis is the body's extreme response to an infection. Without timely treatment, it can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.

 

#discharged #woodwardstrong #thefivepercent

Posted by Woodward Strong on Wednesday, March 20, 2019


After Woodward arrived at the hospital, he was rushed into emergency surgery and was in critical condition for weeks. He remained unconscious for more than a week.

A family friend set up a GoFundMe page, and the Albany Airport fire department is making its own plans to support the family. So far, the GoFundMe effort has raised $111,965 of its $150,000 goal. The money will be used to defray Woodward's medical costs and other expenses tied to his care.

On Sunday, March 24, a special series When Pigs Fly: Do You Believe in Miracles continues at the Capital Church in Albany at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., where Chelsea Woodward and church Pastor David Mazzella will discuss Josh Woodward's journey to recovery in a program titled Miracles of Healing.

"Have you ever seen an actual real-life miracle? We have," the event page reads. "Do you need God to do the impossible in your life? We do too. This week, Pastor David invites us to see, with our own eyes, that real life miracles do happen and to believe, with our hearts, that they CAN happen in our lives too."

At the end of the event there will be a video message from Josh Woodward, Chelsea Woodward said.

For more on the event, go to capitalchurchny.org/whenpigsfly

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©2019 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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