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Patient Thanks ThedaCare Care Teams

Patient Shares his Experience Battling COVID-19

APPLETON, Wis. – Taking a quick glance at Ozzie Bruss, you wouldn’t guess he’s nearly 90 years old – and according to him, age is just a number.

“Right now, I feel great,” Bruss said. “I’m doing pretty well considering everything that has happened the past few months.”

Ozzie Bruss Photo 1

Ozzie explained in June he woke up during the middle of the night and thought he was having a heart attack.

“My chest was tight and I’d been having acid reflux, so I thought maybe it was really a heart attack,” he said. “It was just so hard to breathe.”

After going to the emergency department, where he was immediately separated from other patients and masked, and getting a chest x-ray, the team quickly ordered a COVID-19 test. In a short time, the test came back positive.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I couldn’t believe I tested positive. I had done everything right, taken all precautions. I wore a mask in public, tried to stay distanced from people. I did not have underlying health conditions, I was totally surprised by this.”

Ozzie was taken to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton where he spent nearly a week in the designated COVID unit.

“The ThedaCare team was great,” he said. “They all treated me very well.”

Ozzie Bruss Photo 2

While in the hospital, doctors determined Ozzie was a good candidate for convalescent plasma treatment, an experimental therapy to treat those with COVID-19. Patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies, proteins the body uses to fight off infections. Care teams hope that convalescent plasma can be given to people with severe COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus, it might also be used for those who have mild symptoms, preventing them from experiencing greater complications.

“After I received the plasma treatment, I began to feel much better,” he explained. “I also received Remdesivir and I think all of it helped me recover.”

Ozzie also credits a higher plan to his fight against COVID-19.

The New London native, who spends his winters in Arizona, said he’s lived quite the life – he was wounded in the Korean War, electrocuted and had a number of accidents. Miraculously he survived each incident, now adding COVID-19 to the list.

“The good Lord still has something for me to do,” he said. “He’s not ready for me to come home yet.”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 18 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.

For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.