Florida woman in COVID-19 coma wakes up on day family planned to pull life support


Bettina Lerman (not pictured) had gotten sick on a trip to Maine in September. Her family said they were in the middle of buying a headstone when they heard news she’d woken from her coma. (Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Maine (WFLA) — A Florida woman’s COVID-19 recovery is being called miraculous after she woke up from a coma on the same day her family planned to pull her off life support.

Bettina Lerman, 69, contracted the virus in September while on a visit to Maine, WMTW reported. Bettina’s son, Andrew Lerman, said she had underlying health conditions and planned to get vaccinated before she got sick with COVID-19.

The virus ravaged her lungs, leading doctors to believe that she wouldn’t survive. By the time the decision was made to take her off life support, Bettina had already spent more than a month on a ventilator.

With the odds of her survival looking slim, Andrew said his family began planning funeral arrangements. They were even in the middle of buying a headstone on Oct. 29 when Bettina’s doctor called to say she’d woken up.

“I literally dropped the phone. I was like, what? I mean because we were supposed to be terminating life support that day,” Andrew told WMTW.

Bettina also had memories of people speaking to her in her coma but couldn’t respond to them, Andrew added.

Andrew and Bettina, who live in Tavares, Florida, were in Maine when Bettina got sick. The two were visiting Andrew’s father to care for him while he battled stage 4 cancer, according to CNN.

Andrew, his wife, and his father also got COVID-19, but recovered from their symptoms.

A hospital spokesperson said Bettina was still in serious condition, but Andrew said his mother hadn’t suffered any organ failure, CNN reported. In fact, he said no one can explain his mother’s recovery.

“So they can’t explain it on the medical side,” he said. “Maybe it’s on the religious side. I’m not that religious, but I’m starting to believe that there’s something that helped her. I don’t know.”

As of Wednesday, Bettina is said to be able to move her arms and can breath by herself for a few hours while on oxygen support. Doctors are now focusing on getting her into rehab and rebuild the muscle strength she lost during her coma.

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