St. Bernard Parish firefighter battling COVID-19 complications

Updated: Jan. 20, 2021 at 4:32 PM CST
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CHALMETTE (WVUE) - St. Bernard Parish Fire Department District Chief Rory Miller is at Ochsner North Shore in Slidell while battling COVID-19 complications.

Miller was admitted to the hospital earlier this month.

He took to social media to open up about his experience in what he calls an “immense battle and war that is playing out all over the world against this deadly virus.”

On Jan. 11, Miller posted to Facebook about his struggles to breathe and the “passionate and caring” healthcare workers.

RORY A MILLER COVID-19 illness. As I continue my stay on the COVID-19 3rd. floor here at Ocshner NorthShore facility...

Posted by Rory A. Miller on Monday, January 11, 2021

Rory Miller beat leukemia as a child and has battled prostate cancer as an adult. But, he says this has been the fight of his life.

“This has probably been the strongest I have ever had to fight for my life,” said Miller.

With his wife by his side, the St. Bernard Parish District Fire Chief spoke to us from his hospital room in Slidell. The 50-year-old spent 10 days in the hospital with COVID-19 earlier this month, a week of that time was in the ICU.

“It’s heart-wrenching. He’s such a strong guy,” said Rory’s wife, Jessica.

He was home less than two days before she had to rush him back to the ER.

St Bernard Parish Firefighter Rory Miller is battling COVID-19 at Ocshner North Shore in Slidell.
St Bernard Parish Firefighter Rory Miller is battling COVID-19 at Ocshner North Shore in Slidell.(

“He has always been a strong guy and to watch this take that from him has been really heartbreaking and scary because you don’t know what the end effect is going to be,” she said.

The Millers say Rory was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, triggered by his Covid infection. According to the CDC, Guillain-Barre is a rare autoimmune disorder that can cause muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. In Rory’s case, he says he is currently paralyzed from the waist down.

“Last week we were happy to be breathing, this week we would be happy to be walking, you know, it’s just simple,simple things you don’t think about,” Jessica said.

Rory said he’s sharing his story because he wants people to take the virus seriously and know just how devastating it can be.

“I think this is even worse than the Covid battle because I walked in here but I’m not walking out because I lost my legs. I’m currently paralyzed. I understand long-term I will walk again, God willing. And, the amount of work I am going to have to do to get there is going to be a psychological and physical struggle that I have yet to go up against,” said Miller.

As Rory fights to walk again, he’s got plenty of people cheering him on. Slidell firefighters raised their ladder outside his window to remind him to never give up.

“I will survive and I will beat the battle,” said Miller.

In a tremendous show of support, firefighters from St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1 arrived at the hospital with ladder trucks in tow and homemade signs offering words of support and love.

Firefighters with St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1 offer support and words of comfort as...
Firefighters with St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1 offer support and words of comfort as love while St. Bernard Parish fireman Rory Miller battles COVID-19(St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1)

St Bernard Firefighters Local 1468 also took to Facebook to offer support to Miller.

“We ask everyone to please keep one of our Brothers Chief Rory Miller in your prayers. He was admitted to North Shore Hospital last night. The men and women stand strong with you in this time in need. You are not alone and we are here for you and your family. You will over come this illness and we will be there every step of the way. One step at a time, one day at a time. We love you brother and keep fighting. We also want to thank Slidell Fire Dept for uplifting Our brothers spirits we really appreciate it and we are here for y’all if needed.”

Mike Leon, Lafayette Firefighter and Louisiana Chapter Director of Firefighter Cancer Support Network, called us about a...

Posted by St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1 on Sunday, January 17, 2021

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