A West Palm Beach police officer, put on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19, has been flown to Ohio to receive further treatment, the department announced late Wednesday.
Anthony Testa, an Army combat medic who has been with the West Palm Beach Police Department for five years, was escorted from the hospital to the airport by a team of officers from West Palm Beach and Martin County Wednesday night.
The department said in a tweet that Testa is “locked in a battle with the virus” and needs what they described as “advanced care.”
“At this point, it’s a 76% survival rate,” Janine Testa, the officer’s wife, told WPEC-Ch. 12, “and I’ll take it because we’re still fighting.”
In Ohio, Testa will receive treatment including ECMO, according to WPEC, which stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It’s a procedure that takes the workload off the heart and lungs by pumping blood out of the body so it can be oxygenated, and then pumps the blood back in the body.
“It’s a nightmare that I can’t wake up from,” Janine Testa said. “With the pandemic going on, there are no ECMO machines available in the state of Florida.”
His vaccination status is not known.
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“[Testa] was a combat medic,” Rick Morris, deputy chief of the West Palm Beach Police Department, told WPEC. “He saved quite a few lives in the community. The last time I had contact with Officer Testa, he was actually applying a tourniquet to a gunshot victim. He saved his life.”
Testa is a six-time recipient of the department’s life-saving award and bought and carried medical supplies beyond the department’s standard first aid kit, WPEC reported.
Robert Williams, also a West Palm Beach police officer, died Aug. 16 due to complications from COVID-19.
Williams is at least the fifth local law enforcement officer to die a COVID-19-related death this month. Others included Fort Lauderdale police officer Jennifer Sepot, Florida Highway Patrol-Miami trooper Lazaro Febles, Miami Beach police officer Edward Perez and Coral Springs police officer Patrick Madison.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Testa.
Information from our news partner WPEC News Channel 12 was used in this report.