Man hospitalized for months after contracting West Nile Virus, family pleads for help | KOB 4

Man hospitalized for months after contracting West Nile Virus, family pleads for help

Kassi Nelson
Updated: December 11, 2019 06:52 PM
Created: December 11, 2019 06:42 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A once avid outdoorsman has been hospitalized for four months after testing positive for West Nile Virus.

Mendy Bernal said her husband Ona would take their family on adventures any chance he could get.


“He was very active. He worked out every day, he was very energetic, he ate sardines every day because he was on such a health kick it was like, what's going on?” Mendy said.

The 50-year-old is paralyzed, unable to talk and on a ventilator. Mendy said in the beginning it seemed like her husband had a common cold.

“He just kind of progressively got worse with body aches, headache, congestion, then it got where he couldn't really walk, he couldn't talk—he was in a stupor,” she said.

In the past few months, Mendy said Ona has made little progress. Now the mother of two teenagers is trying to figure out the next step.

A GoFundMe page has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help with medical expenses, but Mendy said they will have to move Ona out of state for better care.

“My family's going to be torn apart no matter where he is,” she said.

Mendy said she hopes people will think of her family when they’re celebrating theirs.

“It's like the apocalypse for our family. Everything has been turned upside down financially. He was the primary bread winner and we're not going to be able to pay our mortgage and our medical expenses. We don't know what's going to happen there,” she said.

To help the Bernal family with Ona’s medical expenses, click here.

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