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Shreveport veteran survives, recovers from coronavirus

Veterans Voices

Robert Colleton is surrounded by the dedicated staff of Overton Brooks VA Medical Center. The Air Force Veteran survived a lengthy battle with COVID-19. (Photo: Shannon Arledge)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs announced Wednesday that a Shreveport Air Force veteran has beaten the odds against the coronavirus.

According to veteran affairs, 66-year-old Robert Colleton spent more than 60 days in the hospital, at times on a ventilator and in an induced coma. Colleton reportedly went to the Emergency Department in late March with a dry cough and a temperature of 100.3. The veteran thought his condition was improving, but the VA says he was getting worse. Colleton tested positive for COVID-19 and spent six weeks between the COVID Intensive Care Unit and the COVID Med Surge wards.

“I have no recollection of being on the ventilator,” said Colleton.

“Even when I was in the coma, I could feel their presence. I remember people checking on me. I am eternally grateful for them.”

His faith is one of the many reasons he believes he is alive today. He was told he faced an uphill battle, with a 14 percent chance of survival. Robert Colleton doesn’t exactly know who to thank for his new lease on life, because he could not see the many professionals at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center through their protective masks.

“The doctors and nurses did not give up on me, and they all had such positive attitudes,” said Colleton.

“One of my doctors on 6 North said her whole family was praying for me,” he said.

The staff of Shreveport VA also stayed in contact with his sister, who lives in South Carolina, according to the veteran affairs. She did not make the trip because there was little she could do but to offer hope.

“Nobody around me got sick, so I tell others to wear a mask and avoid big crowds,” said Colleton.

“It’s so important to take this threat seriously.”

Veteran affairs say Colleton was discharged from the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport in mid-May and spent two additional weeks at a private rehabilitation facility. He pays close attention to his health while keeping his spirits high, at his home in Shreveport.

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