MADISON, NJ - For over six months, Retired Madison Police Chief Vincent Chirico has been in the fight of his life. He was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 on April 6. According to his daughter, the next six months have been a roller coaster.
A gofundme has been started together with the chief's family and the Madison NJ PBA 92, to help raise money for his continued recovery and mounting medical bills. According to the fundraising site, $3,900 has been raised out of a goal of $250,000. The medical bills have piling up and daily rehabilitation is needed, said his daughter.
Upon diagnosis back in April, Chirico was admitted to the hospital and placed on a ventilator, according to his daughter.
"We weren’t allowed to discuss the decision with him…doctors just made him sign the paperwork", his daughter wrote on the fundraising page. "Over the course of the next few weeks, he was touch and go. We weren’t allowed to see him in-person or via Zoom during those weeks. We waited for his doctors to call each day with a daily update. After about 2 weeks on the ventilator, doctors tried to remove his ventilator, which lasted only a few hours and he was again, placed back on the ventilator. After a few days, we made the decision for him to get a PEG feeding tube and a tracheostomy".
Things started to look up for Chirico. He was talking and texting, recounted his daughter.
His family was relieved until he suffered a seizure in mid May. Doctors quickly moved him to the ICU and placed him in a medically induced coma and placed him back on a ventilator. After weeks in the ICU, he gradually improved. Weeks passed, and in July, Vinnie was ready to go to an Acute rehabilitation facility.
"Unfortunately, his progress at the Acute rehab was not quick enough for Medicare to keep paying for his progress, and he was transferred to a Sub-Acute rehab facility in August", wrote his daughter. "Within days of arriving at his new Sub-Acute, Vinnie tanked. He was now unresponsive, we weren’t allowed to see him, nurses weren’t answering the phones at the facility or giving us daily updates."
On August 21, Chirico was rushed to the ER. According to his family, the staff at the ER told the family to say their "goodbyes" to him. The family refused to believe this was the end.
"My father was yelling my name and was awake…he wasn’t ready to die, the family wrote. "Against doctors wishes, we decided to give my father another chance and he was placed back on the ventilator. He spent a few weeks in the ICU, but in the ICU he was now more awake, doing much better, and doing commands (all things he hadn’t done in weeks being at the Sub-Acute)
Things took a turn for the worse, and he was barely awake and barely talking, stated the family.
"We were told he wasn’t on any meds and that he had just given up", they said.
In September the family remembers that they were told Chirico needed hospice. That he "was not improving and wanted to die".
"We were told they wanted to put him on morphine and place him in the palliative care unit for 1-2 days and then my mother and I had to bring him home to die…which they said could take 6 months or more!", his daughter wrote. "My mother and I both knew this didn’t sound right, and I immediately starting going into action trying to get my father moved to another hospital.
Mid September, Chirico was moved to Hackensack University Hospital (HUMC)
The family states that within 12 hours of arriving, Chirico was awake and talking again.
"We were told that the previous hospital had indeed placed him on many sedatives and that was why he hadn’t been awake", wrote the family. "At HUMC, he was making strides. HUMC ordered an MRI, and reviewed the results. he HUMC neurologist said his brain looked much better and that he should have a full recovery and live a mostly normal life, but that the rehabilitation process would be a lengthy one".
Chirico was discharged from HUMC to a new Sub-Acute facility that is affiliated with HUMC. So far, he is doing great, said his family. He talks and does commands. He has a long road ahead of him, but he is a fighter, they said. He has never given up once since his battle with COVID-19, and his will to live is the strongest I’ve ever seen.
For someone who looked after the Madison community all the years as a police officer, please consider donating to help with his recover. Donations can be made through GOFUNDME by clicking HERE