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Utahn Reunited With First Responders, Health Care Workers Who Saved His Life

OREM, Utah – A man who nearly lost his life last month in an incident unrelated to COVID-19 reunited with first responders and health care workers Thursday. The hospital calls his happy outcome a reminder that people need to protect themselves against COVID-19 to keep resources and staff available in ICUs.

“I’m grateful to be here and to continue our life together,” Noah Johnson said to a room full of the men and women who helped save his life. “And that’s thanks to each one of you.”

One year into their marriage, Noah and Korin Johnson have already beat the odds. It began Sept. 18 when Korin Johnson woke up to her husband struggling to breathe. By the time police arrived, he had stopped breathing.

“We don’t always get to see happy endings,” said Sgt. Robert Giles with the Orem Police Department. “Doesn’t happen a lot with us and so we’re glad you’re here.”

Police officers and medics performed CPR and helped Noah Johnson get a pulse before rushing him to Timpanogos Regional Hospital. The ER visit turned into an uncertain seven-day stay in the ICU.

“We were grateful to be allowed to go in and talk to him,” said Noah’s mother, Diane Johnson. “We really thought that was likely the last time we would talk to him it would be our final goodbye.”

“He means everything to me,” said Korin Johnson through tears. “You know, for a minute there I thought I wasn’t going to have him anymore.”

“You did reach a point where your body started to react in a way that indicated you might not make it,” said Rob Hicks, director of critical care services at Timpanogos Hospital.

But with the necessary resources available — a team of doctors and nurses and the prayers of family and friends — Noah Johnson recovered. Doctors and family members called the outcome a miracle.

Weeks after his release from the hospital, state leaders warn of limited resources and staffing if the current trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues.

“It’s always a concern that we have the resources we need to provide this type of care,” Hicks said.

Hicks called Johnson’s recovery an example of what happens when health care workers can come together with the resources they need to treat all patients.

“To do all of this for a stranger and for someone you don’t know, it means so much,” Johnson said. “I didn’t see all the help that went on behind the scenes but it’s truly amazing to see everything that goes into one life.”

One year into the Johnsons’ journey together and they’ve already been through a lot. And thanks to the help of those on the frontlines, they can look forward to many more years together.

“I can go forward knowing that this was a miracle and that he was spared with the help of so many,” Korin Johnson said.

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