WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A local woman who was pronounced brain dead for 30 minutes after a close brush with death by COVID left a rehab facility.
On Tuesday, 25-year-old Tionna Hairston did something some thought she would never be able to do: she walked out of rehab.
“Both of us were diagnosed back in May. She took care of me when I was sick. She had hardly any symptoms,” said Stacey Peatross, Hairston’s mother.
As Hairston nursed her mom back to health, her health took a turn for the worse.
“Strokes. She had a heart attack and had to be revived from that. She had to have an implanted defibrillator placed,” said Dr. James Mclean, the medical director at Novant Health Rehabilitation Hospital.
Back in June, doctors had lost hope after she coded for 30 minutes. She was pronounced brain dead.
“They thought that we should take her off of life support because she had no hope for life. They thought she would be a vegetable. She wouldn’t have any quality of life at all,” Peatross said.
Her family and friends, alongside some strangers, held multiple prayer circles in hopes she would get better. She eventually did start to get better.
She was in rehab for more than a month where she learned how to eat, dress and stand on her own again.
She was released from Novant Rehab Hospital on Monday to a crowd of cheering friends, family and doctors.
“Thank you guys for being there for me and supporting me,” Hairston told the crowd of family and medical staff.
When she stood up in front of her loved ones and doctors, it brought tears to their eyes.
“To see her rise up out of that chair and take steps when nobody thought she would ever be able to walk again…she said mommy, I’m going to walk,” her mom said.
Hairston told FOX8 it was her faith that allowed for this moment.
“My faith in God and the fact that I wanted to walk again,” she said.
Hairston is home now where she will continue her rehabilitation process from there.