COVID survivor thanks OHSU nurses who ‘gave me my life back’


Retired Bridlemile Elementary School teacher Rick Barde spent more than 2 months in the hospital

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A COVID survivor who spent months battling for his life at OHSU returned this week to thank those who saved his life.

Retired Bridlemile Elementary School teacher Rick Barde got COVID in January, just before the vaccine was available. He spent more than two months in the hospital at OHSU. For weeks he was in an induced coma, had a collapsed lung, pneumonia. Barde was put on the ECMO heart-and-lung machine to survive.

Rick Barde, a now retired teacher at Bridlemile Elementary School in Portland, shared his life-and-death battle with COVID-19. He spent 2 months in the hospital, weeks in an induced coma. (Courtesy: Juli Barde)

With the help of the group “Positive Charge! PDX,” Barde returned to OHSU for the first time since he was discharged to thank some of the nurses who cared for him. Barde joined the group in delivering gifts from healthcare workers at the hospital.

Barde’s visit touched many of those who cared for him. They told him not many ICU patients with COVID survive and get the chance to return to pay their respects.

“I wasn’t anticipating pulling up and getting so emotional — but these people gave me my life back. They worked very hard,” Barde told KOIN 6 News.

As of Friday, there were more than a dozen COVID-positive patients hospitalized in the ICU at OHSU. Healthcare workers said none of the patients were vaccinated.

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