Mark Frilot, a construction lawyer in Louisiana, was diagnosed with coronavirus and is now fighting for his life. He’s only 45. His wife Heaven Frilot is speaking out publicly about what happened, sharing on Facebook about his early misdiagnosis. She’s warning people to take COVID-19 seriously, even if they’re young. Here’s what you need to know about Mark Frilot.
1. His First Symptom Appeared Before the First Case Was Confirmed in Louisiana
Mark Frilot first had a temperature of about 99 degrees on March 6, NOLA.com reported. This was three days before the first coronavirus case had even been announced in Louisiana.
2. He Was Treated for the Flu Even Though the Test Came Back Negative
On March 7, he was so sick he didn’t get out of bed. He went to an urgent care clinic, where he was misdiagnosed with the flu because coronavirus tests weren’t widely available, NOLA.com reported. He was prescribed a cough syrup, prednisone, and Tamiflu. Heaven later found out, after he went to the emergency room, that her husband’s flu test at the urgent care center came back negative, but they treated him for the flu anyway, NOLA.com reported.
His wife Heaven posted a public message on Facebook about what happened. She wrote:
I have been seeing a lot of posts about people taking this virus lightly and joking about it. I am telling you this very private information because I care about my friends. Please be extremely cautious and smart during this time. This virus has been in our community a while now without us knowing.
Mark has tested positive for the Coronavirus. He was misdiagnosed last weekend and told he had the flu. As of this Thursday he is in EJ ICU with the virus and double pneumonia. He is fully sedated and paralyzed and intubated no longer breathing on his own. He is quarantined so I cannot even be there for him to help him get through this. It can happen to anyone. Ethan and I have been and remain quarantined to our house.
He is making small improvements but this is going to be a long recovery.
Due to the misdiagnosis, we have exposed it to others unknowingly. For that I am truly sorry.
Prayers from everyone are very much appreciated during this difficult time.
Please take care of yourselves. If you have a fever 101 or above with shortness of breath and or a cough please seek immediate treatment.”
3. Mark Frilot Is on a Respirator Despite Rarely Getting Sick Before
Despite the prescriptions, he got sicker and sicker, NOLA.com reported. He wasn’t diagnosed with COVID-19 until he went to the ER at East Jefferson General Hospital on Thursday, March 12. He was also diagnosed with double pneumonia.
Mark’s wife, Heaven Frilot, said he’s healthy, 45, and never got sick, NOLA.com reported. Now he’s sedated and on a ventilator to try to help his lungs get some rest. On Facebook, she said he’s improving little by little.
People across Facebook are sharing his story and the story of April Abernathy, both of whom developed severe illnesses from COVID-19. You can see an example of the posts being shared above.
4. His Wife Said the Doctor Suspects Cases Were in Louisiana Before the First Confirmed Diagnosis
Heaven and her son are self-quarantining. She told NOLA.com that the doctor who treated her husband said he believed the disease was circulating in Louisiana before the first cases.
She wrote the same suspicion on her Facebook page, saying: “Please be extremely cautious and smart during this time. This virus has been in our community a while now without us knowing.”
5. He’s a Successful Construction Lawyer
Mark Frilot is a construction attorney with Baker Donelson, according to his bio. He’s been with his law firm for more than 15 years and represents contractors, developers, and other professionals.
Frilot is listed on Super Lawyers as a top-rated construction attorney. According to his LinkedIn bio: “I have particular experience in contractor licensing and design professional liability as well as public and private works claims and bidding disputes.”
Frilot graduated from Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, with his J.D. in 2001. He graduated from the University of New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in 1996.