Mom of 4 Wakes from COVID-Related Coma One Day Before Family Planned to Take Her Off Ventilator

Jen Juneau
·4 min read

courtesy Memorial Satilla Health Lisa Martin leaves the hospital

A Georgia woman is heading into the new year having beaten incredible odds — and her family couldn't be more thankful.

"Miracle patient" Lisa Martin, 49, had been admitted to the Memorial Satilla Health emergency room in Waycross, Georgia, in September for complications related to COVID-19, according to a Thursday Facebook post from the hospital.

"Her amazing journey includes 59 days on a ventilator, 40 days in an induced coma and surviving a frontal lobe stroke," the post read, alongside a video of Lisa leaving the hospital, using a rolling walker as medical staff cheered and clapped for her.

"On Oct. 20, Lisa was comatose, her eyes fixed," the post continued. "The hospital called in her family to say goodbye. They decided to give it 11 days before making a decision about removing her from the ventilator that was breathing for her. But God had other plans. On the eleventh day, Lisa broke through the sedatives and began tracking Jeff with her eyes and she moved her hand."

It's been an unbelievable journey for the teaching consultant from Blackshear, Georgia. "I can't wrap my head around what all has happened," she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

"I am shocked but amongst all the overwhelming feelings, I feel like this is definitely a God thing," she says. "I got to a point where I felt like no one cared for me. I didn't have a lot of friends, my kids are all grown up and independent and my husband works all the time. I was lonely, but this experience has shown me how loved I truly am."

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Lisa is a mother of four who shares one son and three daughters with her husband of 29 years, Jeff Martin. Their kids Madison Martin, 27; Harper Lee Martin, 25; Natalie Fuller, 22; and Jack Martin, 19; are grateful for her recovery. Madison tells PEOPLE that her mother is currently using a walker and wheelchair to assist with her mobility, and also has an oxygen cannula to help her lungs. "She can eat, talk and do a lot of things independently," says Madison. "Mom proudly stated that she's able to tie her shoes!"

"The best way that I've heard this experience is like riding the Space Mountain roller coaster from Disney World," Madison adds. "Our family had no idea what direction my mom's COVID journey was about to take. All the twists and turns and loops were overwhelming."

"Our family has always had a strong Christian faith, but going through this has changed our lives for the better," she continues. "Did it suck for my mom to get COVID, almost die and now fight to get back to having a normal life? Absolutely! But if God wanted to use my mom as an example on how to keep faith during struggles, dark times and hardships, then I thank God for using my mom."

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Lisa's husband Jeff admits to PEOPLE that he was not "taking [the virus] seriously at all" until his wife contracted it, while Lisa was the one in their household whom he thought initially was "buying into the hype" by taking proper precautions, like wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer.

"But I do [take it seriously] now — that's for sure," adds the 52-year-old, who says he brought the virus "home from work." (Jeff previously worked as a preacher for 12 years and now owns multiple businesses, selling cars and trailers.)

Jeff tells PEOPLE he wants his wife's story to "encourage and help" others who might be facing seemingly insurmountable odds similar to Lisa's.

"I watched four people die while my wife was struggling," he says. "I know that doctors can treat patients medically, but healing comes from God. And I just ... I'm thankful that she lived, but I'm also just very aware of the pain of watching others who lost their family members to this."

"And the shame of it all is, it's simple things: Just cover your face, maintain your space, wash your hands," Jeff adds. "That's simple stuff, but for some reason, we can't absorb that."

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