Place of Residence: Richmond, Texas
Josh loves sports, spending time with his family, and all things Disney World. He never imagined that COVID would impact his life and because he thought his risk was low, he didn’t get vaccinated. Yet in January 2021, the 43-year-old ended up hospitalized in need of a double lung transplant. After being hospitalized for four months, Josh thankfully survived to tell his story and he now wants others to know the importance of vaccination.
Josh shares the story of how he was hospitalized with COVID and ended up having a double lung transplant to save his life.
How would you describe yourself? What are some of your favorite things to do?
I was a pretty private person before COVID. I always tried to be helpful to others, but I was definitely private when it came to my health issues. I love watching all kinds of sports, spending time with my close family members, and all things Disney World.
Did you have any pre-existing medical conditions prior to getting sick with COVID?
I have Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, but they’re well-maintained. Even with these conditions, I never really thought I was at serious risk from COVID.
How did you become sick? How did your illness progress?
I don’t know how I contracted COVID, but I first started feeling sick on January 28th. I had some telltale symptoms of COVID like loss of smell and taste, which triggered me to get tested a few days later. I was informed that I tested positive for COVID on January 31st. My condition quickly progressed to lots of fatigue and difficulty breathing. I realized it was serious when the doctors explained to me that my lungs were failing at a rapid rate. To save my life, I was placed on a life support system called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) until I was strong enough to be evaluated for a transplant. I was on the waiting list for three weeks and then finally underwent a double lung transplant. I spent four long months in the hospital and for most of that time, I was unable to see my wife and son.
What do you want others to know about COVID vaccination? What advice would you give them if they don’t think vaccines are important?
My main message to others is to not hesitate when it comes to getting a COVID vaccine. If you have questions and concerns about vaccination, take the time to understand the facts and make an educated decision. By getting vaccinated, you’re protecting not only yourself, but also your loved ones and your community. I think more people need to hear stories like mine so they realize it really can happen to anyone. I’ve shared my story with several media outlets, including CNN, ABC, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, USA Today, and I even testified in front of Congress.
I’m happy to say that me, my wife and son have now received our COVID vaccinations. I will continue to need lifelong medical care due to my lung transplant as a result of my COVID illness, but my prognosis is good and I hope my story can be a lesson to others.
Josh is now a strong vaccine advocate and shares his story to remind others that everyone is at risk from COVID and vaccination can help protect our families and communities.