Nurse who was paralyzed by COVID-19-related infection finally returns home

Posted at 2:23 PM, Mar 02, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — After months in a Boston hospital, Desmon Silva is ready for sunshine and palm trees again.

“Well Des, the time is finally here. So how do you feel about going back home to Florida," asks his mother Barbara Bonnet on video.

“It has been long-awaited and highly anticipated," he answered.

Desmon was infected with COVID-19 last July. He recovered and even went back to work as a nurse at Largo Medical Center.

But then came a very rare infection that left him paralyzed and on a ventilator. Doctors say it was related to the coronavirus.

“I can’t put into words, traumatic, everything it has taken away from you. He can’t do anything on his own. He needs a machine to breathe for him. Pretty difficult but he keeps a positive mindset through all of this," said stepmother Lynette Silva.

Jet ICU covered his flight to Massachusetts to be treated by a specialist where his case got national attention.

Many people have also donated to a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.

Monday came the long-awaited return flight to Tampa.

“All the support and social media. I think it’s brought really good awareness to COVID because it goes to show how unknown it really is. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone," said Silva.

Desmon’s family says they don’t know when he’ll be able to walk again, but they know his recovery will be long and difficult.

Coming home helps.

“To see Desmon happy again being back in Florida is everything to him. He misses his friends, his family," said his father, Jose.

Desmon’s family says even after everything he’s been through, he wants to return to nursing one day for the reason he got into it. To help people.

This story originally reported by Erik Waxler on

Coronavirus Resources and Information

Johns Hopkins global coronavirus tracker