‘Party animal’ Avram Woidislawsky is now home after having almost died four times while hospitalized in critical condition with coronavirus.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
IDF veteran Avram Woidislawsky is too full of life to let a pandemic keep him down, and after a four-month battle during which he was near death four times, the octogenarian sportsman is now back home, Philadelphia’s Channel 6 News reported.
The 80-year-old Woidislawsky moved to Philly from Israel in the 1960s and has been non-stop active all his life – raising a family, constantly traveling and involved in sports, including appearances with Team USA at the Maccabiah games playing tennis.
But in March the man described by friends and family as a “party animal” contracted the coronavirus and was the very first patient admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Pennsylvania Hospital, Channel 6 reported.
Woidislawsky’s condition deteriorated and he was in critical condition for a prolonged time: 81 days on a ventilator and two months in a medically induced coma.
“We were called to the hospital four different times to say goodbye, but he made it. We didn’t have to say goodbye,” his wife Rita said when he was discharged from the hospital at the end of May.
With his body so weakened, Woidislawsky was transferred to a rehabilitation center to learn how to walk and talk again, and on Friday he finally returned home.
“When he first came in, he was in pretty rough shape,” said rehab nurse Kimberly Tice. “By the end of his stay, he was walking around the gym with a walker, which is pretty amazing from how far he’s come.”
Back in May when he was released, one of his doctors said his energy was part of the reason he stayed alive.
“He’s one of the toughest 80-year-old guys I’ve ever seen. I hope I’m in his shape at 80 years old,” Dr. Paul Kinniry, director of critical care at Pennsylvania Hospital, told Channel 6.
Avram and Rita, who met in Israel, decided to move to America and settle in Philadelphia, where he became a successful businessman and world traveler who maintained a love for Israel. In 2017, Woidislawsky, his son-in-law and grandson were featured in a news article when they set a record as the the first members of a single family from three generations to compete for the same country in the same Maccabiah games.
As he took the first careful steps towards his house on Friday, Woidislawsky praised the health care workers who kept him alive and recognized that his story could help others because the medical teams learned while caring for him.
“It feels like a hero to help other people to survive,” Woidislawsky said, telling Channel 6 he was looking forward to laying in bed, seeing his family, and then getting back up to “Walk, walk, walk!”