Loudoun County first responder thankful to be alive after battling COVID-19

A Loudoun County first responder said he has a whole lot to be thankful for after spending a month in the hospital battling COVID-19.

“I’m alive and I’m where I am now because a lot of people wouldn’t let me die,” Sam Neglia said Wednesday afternoon.

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The Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad paramedic responded to a typical 911 call at the end of March, starting feeling sick four days later, and ended up in Inova Loudoun Hospital, being intubated and nearly passing away in the ICU.

“I’ve been told afterwards, I had at least four close calls,” Neglia explained.

The frightening ordeal served as a wake-up call for Chief Kathy Harasek.

“We had to as a system step back and say ok, what can we do better, and what can we do better now? Because now one of our own is affected, and got affected pretty significantly,” she said.

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In the end, Neglia pulled through. He said he owes it all to the hospital staff, his family, and his squad – the people who were there when he needed them the most.

“That built up I think a sense of duty and obligation to do them right, to get myself stronger, to get myself ready, to get myself back on a paramedic truck,” Neglia said. “I look at that as a unique motivation, one I don’t recommend people take.”

Neglia added that he’s still not sure when he’ll be allowed to return to work, as doctors – and his coworkers – have ordered him to take it slow.