Advocate Condell COVID-19 patient receives vaccine from doctor who treated him

By Mary Chappell
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 3/4/2021 10:12 PM

A doctor at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville administered the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine for a patient she treated nearly a year ago, officials said Thursday.

Dr. Halleh Akbarnia met Michael Catania, 69, of Green Oaks when he was admitted to the emergency room at the same hospital shortly after the pandemic started. Akbarnia "fought for and visited" Catania -- who was intubated and resuscitated multiple times -- daily in the COVID intensive care unit, officials said in a news release.


Akbarnia said Catania's story "resonated with her unlike that of any other patient in her career," according to the release, and the two have kept in touch the past year.

Catania specifically asked Akbarnia to administer his vaccine when he received his invitation to get it, so Akbarnia gave him the second dose.

"I asked Dr. Akbarnia if she would give me the second shot and if that was possible because I wanted us to share that as a closure on the whole event," Catania said. "We started the journey together, we're ending the journey together, and I wanted that to be a part of what we both experienced."

Catania said Akbarnia and the ICU saved his life and she's considered family.

"This means everything," Akbarnia said. "It was almost like I was hoping he was going to ask me to do this. To me, working this side of giving vaccine is about the biggest therapy that I could have. Giving him his shot was the ultimate."

Catania told people considering getting their vaccine to "get the shot."

"It's not worth messing around with," he said. "Get the shot and wear a mask, and don't do one or the other. Do both."

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