How Singing Opera Is Helping One Man Find His Voice After Nearly Dying of Coronavirus

Jeff Sweat, a publicist, and fellow patients learn the singing therapy from LA Opera singers Nani Sinha and Michele Patzakis.

One California father of three who nearly died of coronavirus earlier this year is crediting his recovery to opera singing.

Jeff Sweat, 49, had such a grim coronavirus diagnosis doctors put him on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma inside UCLA Medical Center.

When he woke from his three-week coma, he learned that he had a tracheostomy and could hardly swallow  and breathe on his own.

“Learning how to breathe again is the hardest thing I have ever done,” he told Inside Edition.

However, thanks to the unique method of healing of singing therapy, Sweat is getting his voice back.

The program is the first of its kind in the country where the UCLA Medical Center teamed up with the L.A. Opera to teach coronavirus patients, like Sweat, how to sing their way to recovery.

Singer Nani Sinha used operatic breathing exercises to recover from broken back and core strengthening exercises following her injury. She found it helped coronavirus survivors as well.

“Music brings such relief during this time of tremendous suffering,” she said.

She called her method “something that is fun and playful,” but also “incorporating techniques” to aid the patient.

Dr. Nida Qadir, a pulmonologist and co-director of the Intensive Care Unit at UCLA Medical Center, cared for Sweat and said what they are doing with the opera exercises is being used as “therapy.”

Dr. Qadir told CNN recently that Sweat’s coronavirus prognosis was so grim, he was knocking on death's door.

"I took care of him when he was literally near death," said Dr. Qadir. "He has no memory of meeting me."

Now, Sweat is back to his old self and has been singing at karaoke.

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