By Iryna Shkurhan
Dennis Harrington, 65, of Miller Place, was battling COVID-19 as one of Mather Hospital’s long-term patients until he was discharged this week to his family and friends.
Outside the Port Jefferson hospital on March 17, friends, family and hospital staff held a “clap-out” for him, cheering him on as he was released.
During his 76-day stay, Harrington was intubated more than once, but ultimately survived his lengthy battle with the virus. Upon his discharge from the hospital, he was applauded as he was pushed through two lines of supporters holding thoughtful posters.
At the end of the line, an ambulance was waiting to take him to St. Charles Rehabilitation to continue his recovery.
“I felt all the prayers and they gave me strength,” Harrington said.
He has had a long and distinguished career in law enforcement. Prior to his hospitalization, he had been an investigator for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. His roles included investigating crimes in the county by gathering evidence and assisting prosecutors with finding and interviewing witnesses.
“He does tremendous work for the office to secure justice on behalf of all the residents in Suffolk County,” said District Attorney Tim Sini (D). “But this is some of his best work yet, coming out of this.”
Sini, who has worked closely with Harrington over the years, came out to show his support for Harrington and his family, as well as for Mather Hospital itself.
Maggie Harrington thanked the hospital doctors, nurses, administration, housekeepers, physical and occupational therapists, and also “the man upstairs” for her husband’s tumultuous recovery. “By any means this man should be dead,” she said.
“There were some scary moments with Dennis, and we all came together as a community,” said Patricia Bonventre, a friend of the family, adding she was not surprised by the large turnout for Harrington’s release and saw many familiar faces in the crowd.
“I didn’t think I would make it,” Harrington said. “Thank you for everything. It really kept me going.”