In a phone interview before his discharge, Dr. Kato, 56, explained how he had become seriously ill soon after he was admitted to the hospital in late March, and had to be placed on a ventilator for three weeks. After he came off the ventilator he was weak, he said. “I think I scared a lot of people. Thank God for the good judgment of all the doctors and the entire team who took care of me. I think I went through every unit (of the hospital). I’m really glad I was here.”
“My colleagues were so supportive,” he said. A few even sat by his bedside all night.
Nearly 200 of those colleagues cheered Dr. Kato as he was discharged from the hospital Tuesday.
“It was so frightening when he got sick and, of course, he means so much to the entire Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian family,” said Dr. Laureen Hill, senior vice president and chief operating officer of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “So it is just such a joyful, heartwarming day to see him recovered and on his way home.”
Dr. Hill continued: “It’s a testimony to the amazing physicians and nurses and the entire team that took care of him. … I know personally how hard this was for them knowing that Tom is one of us, and it felt like caring for a family member, someone you care deeply about. I could not be more proud or more grateful for our team.”