Warwick man hospitalized with COVID-19 making progress, family says

West Bay

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick native hospitalized last month after contracting COVID-19 is beginning to make improvements, according to his family.

For more than a month, 38-year-old Michael Fassel has been in a medically-induced coma at Rhode Island Hospital.

His sister, Anna Fassel-Flanary, said his road to recovery hasn’t been easy.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs,” she said.

Despite the challenges, Fassel-Flanary said there have been some improvements, specifically in the past couple of days.

“He had to have a chest tube placed in to his chest to drain blood and stuff that was in his lungs. That came out as of Wednesday,” she said.

“He now only has one antibiotic, he had five at one point,” his dad Dana Fassel said.

While Michael’s family is holding onto hope that he will wake up and make it out of the hospital, doctors are concerned that the virus has already permanently damaged his lungs and kidneys.

Michael’s dad claims all of this suffering could have been avoided had he gotten vaccinated.

“Why do people want to put their family and all of their relatives through this?” Dana questioned. “Just for a shot – it’s just a shame.”

When Michael was first hospitalized, he was one of 27 people being treated for COVID. On Monday, the R.I. Department of Health reported 108 people are now hospitalized.

Fassel-Flanary said that increase was noticeable at Rhode Island Hospital.

“We watched that whole entire hospital wing fill up with COVID patients, all unvaccinated,” she said.

The influx of patients is the main reason Michael’s 10-year-old son hasn’t been able to visit his bedside.

Fassel-Flanary said their family is grateful for the support they’ve received from the community over the past few weeks.

“It’s been fantastic for everybody to support my brother the way they have,” Fassel-Flanary said. “A lot of people know him from either the Halloween displays that me and him do together, or the big huge Christmas display that he puts out every year all by himself.”

“My brother has to make small little victories each day,” she added.

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with Michael’s medical expenses. So far, it’s raised more than $7,300 of its $50,000 goal.

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