NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Gigi Martinez held tight to her daughter, Christine, sobbing in the doorway of the Dumont Rehabilitation Center In New Rochelle Thursday.
It was the first time the 60-year-old mother and grandmother from Yonkers was seeing her family in the outside world since March 28—four months ago—when she landed in Lawrence Hospital with COVID19.
“This is a miracle,” a clearly overcome Martinez said.
By early April, Martinez was intubated and put on a ventilator, remaining on the breathing machine for three months, even when she was transferred to Dumont in the beginning of July.
Martinez said after three days on the ventilator, doctors were delivering a bad prognosis to her three daughters.
“Three doctors told them to ‘let me go,’” Martinez told PIX11, “but they kept fighting for me.”
Going on a ventilator did not lead to good outcomes for a large percentage of COVID patients, who averaged three weeks on the machines, much less, three months.
Martinez had developed kidney failure, sepsis and heart failure along the way.
“The doctors gave her zero chances and told us to ‘make arrangements,’” Milagros Rivera, one of Gigi’s three daughters, told PIX11.
“I never thought I’d lose my mom to this,” Rivera said. “We’re a prayerful family. We FaceTimed every night and prayed with her.”
“I think she was given another opportunity at life,” the daughter said.
Martinez was weaned off the ventilator in early July and looked frail as she was wheeled out of Dumont on Thursday.
“I’m a little bit tired, but I’m blessed and so thankful,” Martinez said.
Rivera recounted how her mother, who was born in Puerto Rico, had turned 60 this past February.
“She was very young and active,” Milagros Rivera recalled, “with an amazing personality.”
GiGi Martinez had been working as an administrator at a transitional housing program for homeless people, when she got sick.
When she recently suffered kidney failure, doctors told the family “she’s probably looking at dialysis the rest of her life.”
But Milagros Rivera told PIX11 her mother is not presently on any machines to assist with daily functions.
Rivera sent PIX11 a joyful photo of Gigi’s extended family surrounding her inside her Yonkers apartment Thursday evening.
“We ate all together,” Martinez said.
Rivera called her mother a "true warrior."
When we asked GiGi Martinez the first thing she wants to do—when she gets a bit stronger—she didn’t hesitate.
“When I get better, I’ll go to my Church.”