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Kansas City-area man wakes up from 7-week COVID-19 coma, cancels his own funeral

David Williams
Posted at 7:26 AM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 10:16:59-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After COVID-19 left 58-year-old David Williams in a seven-week coma, doctors gave him less than a 1% chance of survival.

Family members began planning for the worst. His wife, Staci, had already planned his funeral, and a family friend had already agreed to serve as a pallbearer.

But on the day Staci Williams planned to take her husband off the ventilator, he woke up — stunning doctors and loved ones alike.

“We had planned the day after Thanksgiving to have the ventilator turned off and they didn't think he would survive very long, and the day after Thanksgiving when we showed up, he opened his eyes,” Staci Williams, said.

“Then, that Friday I got a phone call saying the funeral was canceled, and that's just amazing,” said family friend Dr. Scott Kujath. “I’m a physician, I understand the science of medicine but the art of medicine is fabulous, and when God's got a plan other than ours he can work miracles, still."

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Life started over that day for David Williams, who is now off the ventilator. He's also finished with dialysis treatment, and his kidneys are recovering.

"I just see it as an opportunity to come back and finish out my life story,” David Williams said.

Shortly after Staci Williams had been told there wasn’t anything else left to do, discussions about turning off the machines began.

“I flat out said, I don't think it's time,” Kujath said. “And I don't have a good reason why, I didn't have a medical answer as to why, but it just didn't seem like it was that time yet."

“They had my funeral planned but luckily it was too early,” David Williams said.

David lost friends and his own father to the virus, making his survival that much more special.

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David Williams and Kujath go to church together, are in the same prayer group and have been close friends for years.

"I think there's been a lot of people in the Kansas City area as well as friends that we have internationally that have been praying for David this entire time, and I do believe that's made the difference because I can't explain it with science," Kujath said.

David Williams said it’s the first funeral his church has ever had to cancel.

“There is hope, we don't have all the answers on this disease yet and we're getting surprises every day,” David Williams said.

The Williamses say there is strength in hope, which is why people should never give up.

“That strength that you just can't understand was there,” Staci Williams said. “And that’s the story that people need, is that hope and that love.”

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“It's just a miracle and I'm grateful to be the recipient,” David Williams said.

Kujath has since started a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses. David Williams was self-employed and uninsured at the time his health took a turn.

This story was originally published by Gabriella Pagán on KSHB in Kansas City.