Father of 7 returns home after spending 549 days in 9 different medical facilities battling Covid-19

After spending 549 days in the hospital, one New Mexican man is happy to finally go home after being diagnosed with Covid-19 in September 2020.

When asked how it felt to be with his family after so long he was speechless.

“Ohh man, it’s a– well.  I can’t even put it into words.”


In September 2020, Donnell Hunter, 43, of Roswell, New Mexico started having trouble breathing while at work. He asked his boss for a ride to the hospital and it was there that he learned he had Covid-19.

The father of seven went home, but was back within 24 hours.

“I thought I could just fight it off, but there was no way,” he told CNN.

He returned to the hospital, and initially they believed they could care for him, but they realized he needed care from a larger hospital so he was flown to a hospital in Albuquerque. Since his condition was so poor he was heavily sedated and on a ventilator for the majority of his first year in the hospital.

His wife Ashley was concerned how the virus would affect him because even though he was healthy and active, he had a kidney condition for most of his life, and it was only recently that he had received a kidney transplant.

“I would only cry in the shower. I didn’t want to let my kids see me cry,” she said.

Eventually she told the couple’s five children – Hunter has two older children of his own – that it was okay to be sad.