SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Shreveport respiratory therapist who has been battling COVID-19 since February got a special sendoff Tuesday from his co-workers as he heads to Arizona to prepare for a possible lung transplant.

After taking care of patients for 22 years at Ochsner LSU Health, Byron Bolanos himself became a patient five months ago when he contracted COVID-19. He was admitted on February 1. A couple of weeks later, he was placed on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygen), becoming the system’s longest duration of a COVID patient needing ECMO.

On Tuesday, he was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Pheonix for a lung transplant referral, but not before the Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport team gave him a Warrior Walk send-off.

“Seeing one of our own team struggle with this disease for more than four months is a harsh reminder that this pandemic isn’t over. Vaccinations are the way to end this pandemic and stop the devastation we’ve witnessed the past year,” said Sheree Stephens, Chief Nursing Officer for Ochsner LSU Health.

Bolanos is expected to learn within the week whether he will be able to recieve the double lung transplant.