“God acted in ways that defy medical explanation …” Church pastor spoke about 7 months of fighting COVID-19

Zach Lloyd, pastor of East LaFollette Baptist Church, Tennessee, spent 175 days in hospitals and underwent double lung transplants.

“The doctors have done a great job,” he said, “but I am firmly convinced that without prayers, especially prayers from the church and the LaFollette community, and without God’s intervention, I would have been dead for a long time.”

“There were many nights when the hospital staff did not know if I could survive the night,” the minister said. “I cannot express in words my gratitude for the prayers for me and my family over the past 7 months.”

In early October last year, Lloyd began to experience breathing problems. At first, he thought he just had a sinus infection, but that was the start of a fight with COVID-19, which led to months of hospitalization and double lung transplants.

He was admitted to a local hospital in La Follette on October 16 and stayed there for two days before being transferred to the Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, because hospitals in neighboring Knoxville were full and needed oxygen.

“I didn’t realize the full extent of my illness until I got to the hospital in Oak Ridge,” he said. “I realized that I was worse off than I thought, and this is more serious than I expected.”

Lloyd hardly remembers what happened in that hospital, he learned this later from his family and doctors.
On October 24, he was transferred to the COVID-19 intensive care unit at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. He was immediately hooked up to two ECMO machines.

He later recalled how one night, when he was on the ECMO machine, one of his tubes failed and he began to bleed heavily. This happened when the doctor and nurse were standing in the doorway and they saved his life as they were able to quickly reattach the tube.

Lloyd believes that “God put them there at that very moment because he knew what was about to happen.”
It soon became apparent that Lloyd’s only way to recover was with a double lung transplant, rather than a conventional operation.

Dr. Katie McPherson, one of his doctors at Vanderbilt, told the WSMV news in Nashville that Lloyd’s surgery “carries the greatest risk.” She is convinced that without the transplant, Lloyd would have died.

Zach Lloyd himself is impressed by the people and the church who have served him and his family.

The Red Bank Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, learned of Lloyd’s plight from Randy S. Davis, President and CEO of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Council, and approached the Lloyd family with an offer to pay off the mortgage on their home in 9 months.

“Pastors are not immune to what everyone faces in life,” said Red Bank Mission Pastor Gregg House. “We just wanted to serve a pastor who needed help.”

Even in the most difficult moments at the hospital, Lloyd could not help but be a pastor. He constantly served the hospital staff. Co-workers came to him and talked about faith and spiritual growth. Lloyd admitted that at times he has been an “advisor” to the clinic staff dealing with many of the difficult COVID cases.

While some have discouraged him from returning to the pulpit too early and advised him to wait at least a year, Lloyd plans to return to the ministry as soon as possible. For now, he will only be able to preach while sitting, and must also wear a mask at all times, because his immune system is not working yet.

“I have a passionate desire to tell people about a saving God and a loving Jesus,” he said. “I will not stop doing what God has called me to do.”

Based on materials from Baptist Press

Source: https://inlight.news/2021/05/19/zak-llojd/