COVID-19 survivor shares her story


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – One morning Rita Erne was going to work and noticed she wasn’t feeling her best. She thought it was a common cold, and had no idea her life was about to change. 

“I never thought my life would be like this, you know I am an independent person,” said Erne.

Her cold continued to linger and she noticed she developed a fever. 

“I was tested for influenza and for COVID,” said Erne. “Influenza test came back negative, but they told me it could be a week before I got the COVID test back.”

It didn’t take a week, two days later her doctor called her to let her know that she tested positive for COVID-19, but that was only the beginning. During her self quarantine she started having difficulties breathing and was rushed to the hospital.

“I did code and flat line. Once I got the hospital my heart stopped for a minute and a half,” said Erne. “I did develop a blood clot and they went in to remove the clot and they were successful, but my foot apparently went septic, they recommended and were very adamant that my foot needed to be removed.”

Rita is a widow and her only child had to make the tough decision to approve the doctors to amputate her foot.  

“I would never hold that against her, she was a little bit afraid that I would be upset,” said Erne.

During this time, Rita is usually looking forward to going to a local winery, enjoying a live band, dancing with friends, or having family over for a cookout. Now she is back at her childhood home that’s tucked away on a countryside road in Woodburn, surround by her family as she recovers. 

“My parents opened up their home for me, they were not afraid,” said Erne. “They are in their 70s, high risk.”

Erne said she believes God had her defeat COVID-19 and he is keeping her alive for a reason.

“I feel like I really need to do something with my life because I still have it,” said Erne. “I just thank God for that.”

Erne added that after her experience she feels joy. She said she could be happy, but she chose joy because it’s everlasting and she is blessed to still be alive. 

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