June 18, 2021-A Texas man who refused the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year was infected with the coronavirus and needed a double lung transplant to survive. Now he speaks frankly and encourages others to be vaccinated and learn from his own experience.
Joshua Garza, 43, of Sugarland, didn’t think she needed a vaccine, so she decided not to vaccinate in January. Later that month, he tested positive and became seriously ill.
“COVID eventually attacked my lungs,” he said. ABC news.. “It was fast, it was within 3 weeks, the lungs were already shot.”
In early February, Garza collapsed trying to walk through the house, and his wife called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. He was transferred to a Houston Methodist and placed on a machine to pump his blood.
“They’re telling you that your lungs aren’t working, so I don’t know if you’ll sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow,” he said.
Garza was on the lung transplant list and was able to undergo surgery in mid-April. He spent several weeks recovering and was released from the hospital on May 27.
Lung transplants are rare for COVID-19 patients, but may be necessary for patients who have no other choice, ABC News reports. Houston Methodists have performed eight double lung transplants in COVID-19 patients, and some are currently awaiting transplants during life support.
“These people are still fighting for their lives,” Howard Juan, MD, MD, a Houston Methodist lung transplant medical director and one of the doctors who treated Garza, told the press.
Huang said it was “almost miraculous” that Garza was able to match the donor at the peak of COVID-19 hospitalization in the United States this winter. Houston Methodists continue to treat patients with severe COVID-19, including many who have not yet been vaccinated, he said.
“Currently published data suggest that vaccines are very good at preventing serious illness,” Huang said. “for example [Garza] Once in the hospital, he would not have been able to completely end lung failure that could not have been saved without a lung transplant. “
Garza told ABC News that he was sharing his story to help others and prevent them from experiencing what he did.
“If I knew what I knew now, I would definitely have been vaccinated,” he said.
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