El Dorado Co. woman recalls 5-week battle with H1N1 virus that nearly killed her

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif - Renate Cooper spent 35 days at Placerville's Marshall Hospital, battling the H1N1 flu virus.

Now she's at home recuperating and considers herself very lucky to be alive.

Jan. 2, three days after her flu-like symptoms began, a weakened Cooper fell in her bathroom, prompting her husband, Dr. Kevin Cooper, to call 911.

"Had [my husband] put me to bed that night again, my heart stopped [the next] morning, so I would have been dead," Renate Cooper said.

Cooper was clinically dead for two minutes. Doctors were able to revive her, but her health continued to decline.

"My liver failed, my kidneys failed, my pancreas failed, and my heart [failed]," Cooper recalled.

She didn't start to get better until doctors took an x-ray of her chest. They found fluid that prevented her lungs from filling with air.

Doctors removed three liters of fluid from her chest, and her condition began to improve.

Kevin Cooper explained his wife's recovery as saying her body "reset itself." Her organs began to function again and doctors took her off of a ventilator. She completed kidney dialysis earlier this week.

The couple says that simple x-ray saved Renate Cooper's life, and believe detecting fluids in the chest may help save others who are critically ill with the H1N1 virus.

"Yes, you can make it through this, there's a possibility of surviving this and actually getting your life back," said Kevin Cooper.


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