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'The realest miracle': Wife of former Arnold officer hospitalized with COVID shares update

Ryan O'Connor remains in the ICU, but is showing signs of progress in his battle against the virus.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Former Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor, who survived a gunshot wound to his head in 2017, remains in the ICU battling a COVID-19 infection – but is making progress, according to his wife, Barbara O’Connor.

The Arnold Police Officer’s Association posted an update from Barbara O’Connor on the organization’s Facebook page.

“I am beyond elated to share today’s update,” she wrote. “After a harrowing couple of days and bracing for the worst… Ryan cleared a ton of drug resistant pneumonia somehow.”

Editor's note: The story above aired Jan. 23.

O’Connor has been hospitalized since Jan. 16. He has been put on a ventilator and an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, or ECMO.

“They decided to turn his ECMO all the way down because, it’s Ryan so why not?!” Barbara O’Connor wrote. “Lo and behold he was able to maintain on just the ventilator!”

On Tuesday, doctors took him off of the ECMO machine entirely.

“Their goal is to wean him off the ventilator over the next 48 hours or so,” his wife wrote. “He is still critically ill.

“He still has secondary infection to overcome. We have a long path through the woods. But hearing the doctors call him ‘the realest miracle’ they’ve ever seen and twice over, no less, was incredibly heartwarming. Please keep the prayers coming!”

O’Connor was transporting a burglary suspect to the Arnold police station in December 2017 when the man shot O’Connor in the head before fatally shooting himself while handcuffed in the back of O’Connor’s police SUV.

The shooting happened just yards from the police sally port where O’Connor was heading with the suspect.

The Gary Sinise Foundation modified O’Connor’s home to meet his new special needs using smart technology.

O’Connor is the father of four boys. His father is former Maryland Heights Police Chief Tom O’Connor. Ryan O’Connor had been with Arnold for about three years. He had previously worked for St. Louis County and Ferguson police.

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