New Mexico family forced to move out of state to fight West Nile Virus diagnosis

Albuquerque News

DENVER (KRQE) – In August, a New Mexico father left his Belen home with what he thought was the flu, but months later, he has had to move out of state to fight what is actually the West Nile Virus.

“We came in an air ambulance to this facility in Denver,” said Mendy Bernal, Ona Bernal’s wife.

Ona Bernal is still bed-ridden, cannot speak and is battling bedsores that have reached his bone. Bernal says her husband was not getting the care he needed in New Mexico, so the pair relocated to Denver at the end of December.

“Since then, Ona is making wonderful progress,” said Bernal, “He’s in a better mood, he seems much happier, there’s much more movement in his mouth and his ability to close his mouth is getting better.”

Bernal says doctors’ first priority at PAM Specialty Hospital of Denver is healing his serious bedsores. Then, they hope to transfer Bernal to Denver’s Craig Hospital, which specializes in rehabilitation.

“We still have a lot of goals to meet before going [to Craig] so he will probably be here for several months,” said Bernal.

While the couple is in Denver, their teenage son and daughter are being cared for by other family members here in New Mexico.

“They’re still back home and just trying to get adjusted to the new normal, their new lifestyle, without mom and dad,” said Bernal.

At the start of the new year, Bernal is hopeful that her husband will progressively get better throughout 2020.

“Reality versus fantasy. I know we’re going to be in a much better place. It’s hard to say how far along Ona will be, but I think that he will be at least up in a wheelchair and be able to do some talking and more movement in his hands,” said Bernal.

If you would like to donate to Ona’s medical expenses, click here.

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