DANIELSVILLE, Ga. (Christian News Network) — A Baptist pastor in Georgia who was given a one percent chance of survival after contracting the novel coronavirus is crediting the hand of the Lord after overcoming the infection.
“I do know that without Jesus Christ healing and touching my body and giving me what I needed that I wouldn’t have survived,” Robert Burt of Danielsville Baptist Church told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Burt’s daughter transported him to the hospital on March 19 after his initial diagnosis of pneumonia did not improve. He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center where he was put on a ventilator, and later transferred to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital where he was placed on an ECMO machine, which oxygenates the patient’s blood.
The pastor’s condition didn’t look good and hospital staff contacted his wife about end-of-life wishes. The couple had lost their son in an automobile accident last year, and Joy Burt didn’t want to lose her husband also. She held on to her faith, believing that God could heal him.
She likewise became ill with COVID-19, but thankfully, it was a short bout.
Joy and her daughter, Tara Tyler, maintained a Facebook page to keep others updated about Burt. A friend of the family also launched a GoFundMe page to help raise support for the family since Burt has no insurance and will be paying out of pocket.
“The ventilator is pushing 100 percent oxygen for Robert. He is on life support. He is not talking, calling me or allowed to have anyone with him,” Joy posted on March 25. “… Keep crying out to our God and Savior on Robert’s behalf, please.”
But with each day, there were signs of improvement.
“Just spoke to Daddy’s nurse. He is opening his eyes to voice and moving some of his extremities. He is slightly sedated just to keep him comfortable,” Tara wrote on March 28. “Praise you God.”
“They said that he had a really good night; all of his numbers look the same. He is responding well to the feeding tube. They said they have been giving him Lasix to get some of the excess fluid off his body,” she advised on March 30. “They said that this is just gonna be a long process for him healing his lungs. The nurse held the phone up to his ear this morning and I got to talk to him and tell him that everyone is praying for him and that we love him.”
“Praise God! Praise God! The nurse put the phone on speaker and Robert tried to get up! My God is working, my God healing, and my God wins the battle! Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!” Joy posted the following day.
Burt soon was moved to a regular room and began receiving physical therapy. On April 10, he was cleared to come home — with additional therapy and finding joy in the small victories, such as taking steps on his own with assistance of a walker.
“I just want to say thank you, Jesus!” Tara wrote on April 22. “It’s just so amazing to me how far my dad has come since he has come home. If God never answers another prayer for me, that will be ok. He spared my Daddy’s life and allowed him to come home. I am so thankful for his recovery, and I know it is God that is giving him the strength to push through every day, to conquer another challenge every day in his recovery.”
The pastor says he doesn’t remember much of his time in the hospital other than waking up in Atlanta and being asked if he knew why he was there.
“I looked at them and told them, ‘I have the coronavirus, don’t I?’ And they said, ‘Yes, you do,'” Burt recalled to Fox 5 Atlanta.
Being weak from the ordeal, he was told after being sent back to Piedmont Athens that he would need to fight to be able to go home, and so fight he did.
The return home was a blessing to Burt. There were balloons in his yard and a welcome home sign, along with a large cross that one of the church members had planted in the ground.
“[Coming home] was a very touching moment, knowing I hadn’t seen my wife in almost 30 days and my family in almost 30 days, hadn’t talked to nobody, and realizing all the prayers that had been lifted up,” Burt told Madison Journal Today. “ … It was a time of knowing that there are people out there that still care.”
He told reporters that his heart goes out to those who have not survived the infection, and those suffering with the coronavirus are the subject of his prayers.
“We need to look at it as a very serious virus,” Burt said. “I pray every day right now that people who have this thing don’t lose their life.”