‘He saved my life. I’m saving his.’ How a Saint Barnabas doctor returned his coronavirus patient’s life-saving gift

Pictured are Richard Pirera, MD, and Dan Radice.

The man on the ventilator asked the doctor for a pen and a piece of paper. He wrote, in shaky handwriting from his hospital bed, what he could not say with the tube jammed down his throat because of the coronavirus.

"Am I going to die tonight?"

Dr. Rick Pitera, 53, felt his stomach drop as he read the note. He knew the odds, and he knew they were not good. He already had seen so much death and suffering at St. Barnabas Medical Center from COVID-19, more than he had seen in the previous three decades working at the Livingston hospital as an anesthesiologist.

Read more from NJ.com.

Additional Coverage:

NJ.com/The Star Ledger: 'He saved my life. I'm saving his.' How a doctor returned his coronavirus patient's life-saving gift

Eyewitness News ABC7 (video):  NJ doctor treats COVID patient who helped him after heart attack

People.com: New Jersey Doctor Saves Friend and Specialist Who Previously Helped Him Recover from Heart Attack

NY Post: NJ doctor saves coronavirus-stricken colleague who earlier saved his life

Coverage can be found on our social media: Facebook @SaintBarnabasMedicalCenter or Instagram @SaintBarnabasNJ.