LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Earlier this year, people may not have recognized Scott Astringer. He tested positive for COVID-19 in late December and his health took a turn for the worse.

“I’m thankful for all they did to keep me alive and once I left here was when the hard work started with rehab and learning how to walk again and it took me a while to be able to feed myself,” Astringer said.

On Friday, he stopped by Largo Medical Center to hug and thank the team of nurses and doctors who helped save his life.

“I can’t thank them enough for all they did for me and my family. And not only saving me but keeping my family informed and helping them cope with everything they went through almost losing me,” he said.

At the time, his situation was so dire he was flown by helicopter to the hospital for life-saving treatment.

“ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) is we’re pulling out five liters of blood every minute and putting it through a pump and a machine to oxygenate that blood and we put it right back in the body and this is when the lungs have gone to waste and they are not in use and this gives the lungs time to rest and recuperate and work on their own,” said Dr. Mark Vila.

And thanks to that, Astringer now has a new lease on life.

“I feel very lucky and I am thankful the doctors made all of the right calls in my case,” he said.

Doctors say that only three to four facilities in Tampa Bay use this specialized treatment so Astringer is very fortunate to have received it.