Metro Detroit doctor who survived COVID-19 but lost father to virus shares his story

Dr. Scott Kaatz knows coronavirus (COVID-19) from every angle.

A Metro Detroit doctor who knows the coronavirus (COVID-19) from every angle -- as an expert who treated it, a patient who survived it and a son who lost a father to it -- is sharing his important perspective on the threat.

DETROIT – A Metro Detroit doctor who knows the coronavirus (COVID-19) from every angle -- as an expert who treated it, a patient who survived it and a son who lost a father to it -- is sharing his important perspective on the threat.

UPDATE -- May 25, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 54,881; Death toll now at 5,240

Dr. Scott Kaatz has a unique perspective on the virus and the threat facing the country. He warns the threat is still very present, even though cases are on the decline.

More on Dr. Kaatz:

On Easter Sunday, as families were settling into their couches to watch church services online, Kaatz was preparing to go on a ventilator.

Having already treated many of the first patients to face COVID-19 in Michigan, he was realistic about what that meant.

“About half the patients that are on a ventilator die from this disease,” Kaatz said. “I knew that going in.”

His wife, Meg, and their two grown children knew it, too. They had a family phone call.

“I said, ‘Write this down carefully. Here’s all the passwords. Here’s where the retirement accounts are,’” Kaatz said. “Really doing all of that.”

Then, the situation got emotional.

“It was really important for me to see my kids and my wife and vice versa,” Kaatz said. “We all knew what that phone call meant.”

As they fought to save him, his colleagues at Henry Ford Hospital didn’t know if he would pull through. But there was positive news the following Saturday.

“I looked down -- my toes in the yellow hospital socks were wiggling,” Kaatz said. “I said, ‘OK, I guess I’m back.’”

He recovered, but the virus wouldn’t leave his family unscathed.

On May 5, his father, Dick Kaatz, died from COVID-19. As his family mourns, Kaatz warns the threat is not gone.

“This is not over by a long ways,” Kaatz said. “If you get sick, then you are going to expect someone to risk their life to save yours, so I think it’s absolutely rude to say, ‘I don’t wear a mask. I don’t want to do everything I can.’”

Kaatz said he is forever grateful to his coworkers for risking their lives to save him.

“It’s impossible to thank them enough,” Kaatz said. “It’s impossible to even find any words that could express that gratitude.”

His message to everyone is to do everything you can not to get infected.

Kaatz is 62 years old, but he said he never even considered stepping back from the front lines. Instead, his wife went to stay with their son in Texas and he volunteered to work more because he didn’t have a family at home to worry about exposing.


About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.