Given just hours to live, Arkansas woman stricken with COVID-19 suddenly wakes up, smiles at family


BENTON, Ark. — An Arkansas woman stricken with COVID-19 is a true survivor—waking up after doctors were certain she’d die.

According to THV11, Rhonda Withem fell ill in early November and tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 7. A two-week hospital stay followed after her condition continued to decline.

“She was in the ICU there at Saline Memorial for two weeks,” Nichole Brewer, Withem’s daughter, told THV11.

Withem was on a ventilator during her time at the hospital. She didn’t respond when doctors gradually tried taking her off the ventilator.

Doctors told her family that she would never breathe again on her own; they made the difficult decision to pull the plug.

Doctors said it would “just be hours” before she died.

Then, a miracle.

After being taken off the ventilator, Withem opened her eyes. She smiled and tried waving to her family.

“She just came alive,” Brewer recalled. “It’s just a miracle.” 

Withem is now in rehab as she works to regain the strength she lost while battling COVID-19. She’s expected to finish rehab on Dec. 26.

Her family said the story proves you should never give up hope.

“Not after seeing her for a month, giving her a big hug, and just getting to squeeze her neck, it was just amazing,” Brewer said. “Don’t give up on your faith or your hope. We’ve seen it.”

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