Early COVID-19 patient reunites with doctors who saved his life with new treatment

One of North Texas’ first COVID-19 patients had an emotional reunion with his doctors.

Gary Olive was the first COVID-19 patient in the state to receive ECMO treatment in March 2020.

ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, is artificial life support that essentially removes the blood and adds oxygen then puts it back into the body.

One year later, Olive returned to Medical City Plano to thank the doctors and nurses who saved his life.

"At the time, there were no institutions or facilities in Texas doing it and he is the first patient to survive, which also paved the way for us that we knew we could get these sick COVID patients with this special technology. And it wasn’t until after his case that more and more institutions started doing this," said Crescens Pellecchia, the director of Medical City Plano’s ECMO program.

Olive spent nearly a month in the intensive care unit and then weeks in rehab.

He is now healthy and back home with his family.