Doctor who almost died from COVID-19 hikes Camelback Mountain trail

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Sunday, December 5, 2021 - 4:01pm
Updated: Monday, December 6, 2021 - 9:33am

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Karl Viddal
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center
Dr. Karl Viddal, a 46-year-old Phoenix-area doctor who was not expected to survive COVID-19, recovered following treatment at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. in 2020..

A Phoenix-area doctor who survived a near-fatal bout with COVID-19 last year spent Saturday hiking Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon Trail with the doctors and nurses who treated him.

Karl Viddal spent 34 days on a ventilator, 28 days in a medically induced coma and 16 days on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, in which a bypass machine takes over the work of the heart and lungs.

He says good health is never a guarantee.

“Y’know, it’s crazy, we take our health for granted, we don’t realize how precious it is until it’s taken away from us,” said Viddal.

Viddal says he had a nearly 100% mortality rate at one point during his treatment.

He says he now exercises three to four times a week, and it is his goal to regain his prior level of health and fitness, despite lingering respiratory issues from COVID-19.