Michael Rhodes of Columbus, Ohio is a father, small business owner, and part-time nurse. He recently left his family behind to go to Washington D.C. and work on the front lines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He has now, unfortunately, contracted the disease himself and is on a ventilator fighting for his life, according to Today.
Rhodes owns a company called Ion Fire Protection, which works to clean commercial kitchen hoods, such as the ones that would be found at restaurants. However, when health officials made the decision to close all non-essential businesses, he was out of work.
At the hospital he typically worked at, he was considered to be contingent and was not guaranteed work. Rhodes had stopped taking a salary from his business in order to pay his employees, so he needed to find a new way to make money fast. Instead of sitting around and waiting for the regulations to be lifted, he wanted to do what he could to help others.
On April 7, Rhodes arrived in Washington. He spent several weeks at UM Prince George's Hospital Center in the Maryland suburbs of the state treating patients that were not known to have COVID-19. After that, he was moved to another area that was specifically for those that already tested positive for the virus.
"He knew these hard-hit areas of the pandemic needed help and he could help," his fiance Amber Wachenschwanz explained.
Wachenschwanz has been documenting Rhodes' journey and health care battle through social media. She explained that her husband began showing symptoms of the coronavirus and tested positive for the disease on April 30. He went into quarantine at the hotel where he was staying but his condition continued to deteriorate.
"Every day we spoke, he told me he was feeling terrible," Wachenschwanz said.
He is now at Johns Hopkins on a ventilator. Wachenschwanz has two 9-year-old twins from a previous relationship and a 2-year-old named Bode whom she shares with Rhodes. The children are very worried about his well-being.
"When the twins found out Michael had COVID, their first thing was 'Is Michael going to die?' They're really concerned about him. Mainly they see me, so they're sad because I'm sad," Wachenschwanz said.
A GoFundMe page was started to support their family. It has raised $32,433.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, healthcare workers like Rhodes have truly risked everything by helping others in the midst of the pandemic. At times, those that are working on the front-lines have even had to work without proper protective equipment due to shortages.