Former COVID patient celebrates recovery with medical staff

Published 6:23 am Sunday, June 27, 2021

Johnny Woodard could feel his life slowly slipping away.

In November of 2020, the Horse Cave resident was admitted to The Medical Center at Bowling Green with a severe case of COVID-19.

A few months into his battle with the virus, Woodard’s health took a turn for the worse. The 50-year-old was on a ventilator and had undergone numerous surgeries.

He was beginning to lose hope.

That’s when his physician, Dr. Ghayth Hammad, made a promise to his patient while his medical team surrounded his hospital bed.

“I looked him right in the eyes and told him right then not only was he going to beat COVID, but that we were going to get a beer together when it was all over,” Hammad said.

After a battle spanning seven months, Woodard, once again surrounded by his nurses and physicians, was able to see Hammad’s promise come to fruition last Friday afternoon at Pub by Novo in Bowling Green.

He had finally defeated the deadly virus that has killed more than 600,000 Americans.

The group lifted their drinks in celebration and toasted to Woodard’s health. He then joyfully took a sip from a cold beer for the first time in months.

“This is my smile,” Woodard said with a large, thankful grin. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a beer. God is just so good.”

Seated on each side of Woodard were the two people who spent the most time by his side through his fight — Hammad and Med Center Health Clinic Manager Tracy Metzger.

“I’m just so grateful for them. They took care of me,” Woodard said. “It was so difficult every day. These two helped me every step of the way. And the grace of God really got me through it as well.”

Hammad said Woodard lost over 150 pounds throughout his battle. He also had to undergo a tracheotomy and was fed by a feeding tube while also being placed on a ventilator.