WXXI AM News

A year after his hospital release, Ted O'Brien is changed by his battle against COVID-19

May 28, 2021

Sue and Ted O'Brien at Highland Park in the spring of 2021
Credit photo provided

These days, Ted O’Brien is running several miles at a time and getting in some strength training in the gym.

Remarkable, when you consider where he was a year ago.

On May 27, 2020, the former New York state senator was discharged from a 68- day stay at Rochester General Hospital, after surviving a harrowing battle against COVID-19.

O’Brien, who heads the Rochester office of the state Attorney General, was extremely weak when he emerged from intensive care, where he spent nearly a month in a coma.

“I was literally skin hanging from bones,” he said of his 6-foot-2 frame, which carried only 150 pounds at the time.

O’Brien credits his wife, Sue, a physical therapist, for helping him regain his strength.

His close brush with death changed his appreciation for things he said he wouldn’t have thought much about before -- helping his high school-aged daughters with their homework or getting a haircut.

"I was just so overjoyed at being able to continue life's journey,” he said.

As soon as they could, O’Brien and his family got vaccinated against COVID-19. He believes that is the best way to achieve a post-COVID world.

“What I would encourage people to do is learn from people like myself and others who suffered so greatly,” he said. “Please get vaccinated and let’s move beyond this pandemic if we can.”

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview with O’Brien.