Because the Covid-19 pandemic swept throughout the nation in March 2020, the household of Marc Lewitinn, their 74-year-old patriarch, urged him to remain indoors. He had survived lung most cancers and a stroke that left him unable to talk, and docs have been already warning that older folks together with his kind of medical historical past have been particularly weak to the virus.
He complied, roughly. However he quickly felt cooped up, and at some point he ventured right into a crowded Starbucks close to his house in Cliffside Park, N.J. By March 25, he was feeling torpid. A pulse oximeter confirmed his blood oxygen stage at simply 85 p.c.
His son Albert, a TV producer, took him to the emergency room at Weill Cornell Medication in Manhattan. The hospital was inundated with sufferers and docs in hazmat fits, and it took hours for somebody to see him. He examined constructive for Covid that night time. Six days later, together with his oxygen stage falling additional, docs determined to intubate him and induce a coma.
They informed the Lewitinn household that Marc, a retired Manhattan shopkeeper, would doubtless die inside a couple of days. Within the early months of the pandemic particularly, the survival price for intubated Covid sufferers was about 50 p.c, and that included individuals who have been youthful and more healthy than Mr. Lewitinn.
“They stepped outdoors with the iPad to ask us if we needed to simply give him morphine and let him move away naturally,” Albert Lewitinn mentioned in an electronic mail. “On a gaggle FaceTime, we urged my father to battle. We didn’t say goodbye. We mentioned, ‘Hold preventing, Dad, you’re going to be positive.’”
Mr. Lewitinn stabilized and recovered from Covid, however he remained too weakened to come back off the ventilator. After six months he was introduced out of his coma and ultimately moved to a different hospital, nearer to his New Jersey house.
After 850 days on the ventilator, Mr. Lewitinn died of a coronary heart assault on July 23 at Palisades Medical Middle in North Bergen, N.J. He was 76. His son Albert confirmed the loss of life.
Whereas there aren’t any complete statistics for a way lengthy Covid sufferers have survived on air flow, medical consultants say Mr. Lewitinn could maintain the file. The literature across the pandemic notes a couple of sufferers who’ve lasted greater than three months; a affected person in Alabama made headlines in 2021 when he got here off a respirator after 187 days.
None of these come near Mr. Lewitinn’s streak, a mix, docs say, of his bodily and psychological power and the swiftness with which the medical institution developed protocols for long-term Covid care.
“He had an extended and troublesome course,” Dr. Abraham Sanders, certainly one of his physicians at Weill Cornell, wrote in an electronic mail. “He was a robust man and was the beneficiary of subtle medical care.”
Marco Albert Lewitinn was born on March 12, 1946, to a Jewish household in Cairo. His father, Albert Lewitinn, was a medical engineer, and his mom, Sarah (Amiga) Lewitinn, was a homemaker. He grew up talking Arabic and later realized English, French and Spanish.
Egypt had a thriving Jewish group of 75,000 folks, however they confronted worsening circumstances after the Arab nationalist revolution in 1952 and the Suez Disaster in 1956, which pitted the nation towards Israel, France and Britain. The federal government took over the elder Mr. Lewitinn’s enterprise and, after being briefly detained, he and his household have been expelled in 1958.
They settled in Baltimore, the place Albert Lewitinn was employed by Johns Hopkins College to work on organ transplant know-how.
As a younger man Marc lived in New York Metropolis and Los Angeles, the place he briefly attended school, then Paris, the place he met Ondine Inexperienced, the sister of a childhood good friend from Cairo. They married in 1968.
The Lewitinns settled within the New York Metropolis space, first in Brooklyn and later in Tenafly, N.J. He opened a enterprise on the Higher West Facet that operated as a kind of every thing retailer for the neighborhood: pawn store, movie processing, electronics restore, jeweler. It turned a neighborhood fixture; John Lennon, who lived close by, got here in sometimes, and Mr. Lewitinn hung an image of himself with Lennon on a wall on the retailer.
He bought the enterprise in 1981, after which he purchased and bought actual property and later traded in artwork on-line.
Mr. Lewitinn was an ardent supporter of Israel and Jewish causes. He raised cash for Ethiopian Jews fleeing their nation as refugees, and received reward from the Nazi hunters Simon Wiesenthal and Charles Kremer for serving to to steer the U.S. authorities to deport Archbishop Valerian Trifa, a Romanian cleric and fascist collaborator who had moved to the USA after World Battle II.
In 1995, Mr. Lewitinn sued the Egyptian authorities to win the discharge of a number of Torah scrolls, prayer books and different spiritual objects seized from the nation’s Jewish group within the late Nineteen Fifties. He later dropped the case.
Alongside together with his son Albert, he’s survived by his spouse; one other son, Lawrence, a real-estate investor; his daughter, Sarah, a file producer and D.J. who performs below the identify Ultragrrrl; his sisters Fortunee Yeh and Rachel Algazi; his brothers Solomon, Michael and Nessim; and two grandchildren.