Out on their weekly date night on a Monday in early February, Albany firefighter and father of two Josh Woodward told his wife, Chelsea Woodward, that he thought he’d pulled a muscle in his arm.
Two days later, the 33-year-old was in the ER with sepsis. Doctors gave Josh a 5 percent chance of survival as the infection spread from his arm to his chest. He had a heart attack. His kidneys were failing.
Two weeks later, after a massive outpouring of support from his community and strangers online following his fight for life, Josh has beaten the odds to make it into that 5 percent. (One in three people who die in a hospital have sepsis, according to 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.)
“As of yesterday, his blood work came back free of sepsis,” Chelsea, 31, tells The Post. “The doctors are throwing around the word ‘miracle.’ ”
The way Josh contracted sepsis is almost as tragic as his recovery is remarkable. “He coughed strep directly into his blood,” says Chelsea. “He did one of those vampire coughs in his arm and he had a small laceration in his shoulder.”
Josh had unknowingly been carrying the disease in his throat.
Now his medical team doesn’t anticipate any further problems, Chelsea says. This only a few days after doctors seemed certain Josh would lose his arm — if not his life. While “there’s a couple fingers” that may need amputation, Chelsea says, that’s “small change,” comparatively.
Josh Woodward has yet to fully grasp the outpouring of public support he’s received .
A long road to recovery still faces Josh, who will likely stay in the hospital for at least another two weeks. Chelsea admits she’s exhausted, but feels uplifted by the influx of love she’s witnessed.
Follow Josh at Woodward Strong Facebook
Contributions can be sent to:
Josh Woodward FundAlbany Firemen's Federal Credit Union 532 Central Ave. Albany, NY 12206