Overland Park EMS Chief survives COVID-19, thanks his caregivers at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission

Jason Green, the emergency medical services chief for the Overland Park Fire Department, spent more than a month at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission — including 18 days on a ventilator — fighting COVID-19. Green’s prognosis wasn’t great, and at one point intensive care staff thought he wasn’t going to make it.

Now, after recovering from the virus and being reunited with his wife and two daughters, Green wanted to show appreciation for his critical care team.

Thursday morning Green and his family surprised his caregivers with a special show of appreciation in front of the hospital. Green said he wanted to thank the team that gave him the opportunity to see his oldest daughter off to Kansas State University in fall 2020.

“It’s really important to me to recognize you all because it’s just very humbling to be in the condition that I was in when I woke up and to be as vulnerable as I was, not be able to walk, not be able to stand,” Green said. “I just want you to know how much I appreciate you.”

As a 27-year OPFD veteran, Green said he knows serving the public comes with its ups and downs and it can be difficult to remember that you are making a difference. To remind his care team of the difference they made in his life, Green gave each team member a fire department challenge coin.

Members of Green’s critical care team respond to the special thanks they received from their former patient and his family.

Ally Minyakov, an intensive care unit nurse, took care of Green every day for two weeks, she said. COVID-19 patients are not allowed visits from family members because the virus is so contagious and it was difficult to watch Green fight the illness alone, she said.

Green’s wife was able to visit at one point after his condition worsened and the team thought he would not survive. When Minyakov received word that Green was well enough to come off the ventilator, she said she “literally jumped” out of her seat.

“I know I speak for all the nurses that took care of you that it’s seriously such a blessing to see you standing here today with your family,” Minyakov said. “We’re just so grateful that you did this, and I think your story is going to give other people fighting COVID-19 and their families hope that they can pull through.”