Mississippi man says going unvaccinated could cost you a limb

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:29 PM CDT
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JACKSON, MS. (WVUE) - A Mississippi man said he came close to dying after getting COVID-19. Now he’s hoping others will learn from his health journey after going from vaccine skeptic to a vaccine believer.

Bryan Thompson, 43, is married to Audrey. He has a 6-year-old son named Endymion. He works for an IT company from home. He says he’s otherwise a healthy man, but he is unvaccinated against COVID-19.

“I was unvaccinated, yeah, I myself was a little skeptical and I felt it got rushed, I wanted to just make sure it was safe. We were in a low-risk situation. It wasn’t like I was a front-line worker somewhere seeing hundreds of people a day” said Thompson. “So I figured if anyone can take a little bit of a risk it could be us because of our situation.”

That is until he got COVID-19.

“My blood pressure was 71/40, and my oxygen was in the very low 80s. I mean, I was on my way out,” he said. “It probably wouldn’t have been much longer and I would have died.”

Thompson said he had a fever, which led to pneumonia. He ended up in the hospital.

He said he recovered and was discharged, but once he got home things took a turn.

“During the night, [the] pain increased to a level I have never experienced,” he said. “[The] Worst pain I have ever felt in my life. My foot just... I can’t explain it. Like, screaming-out kind of pain.”

“The whole night he was in excruciating pain, yelling.. just could not get out of pain. I’ve never seen someone be in so much pain,” said his wife Audrey.

Audrey rushed him to the emergency room and that’s when doctors found several blood clots in his leg.

“It eventually got to the point where there was just no hope to save anything,” said Bryan. “I had to have my leg, it’s been amputated from right underneath my knee.”

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Fred Lopez with LSU Health said blood clots are one of the complications from COVID-19-- although rare.

“These are not the more frequent complications these are part of those small percentage of people who develop severe complications,” said Dr. Lopez.

He said blood thinners are usually given to patients to minimize those complications. Dr. Lopez said COVID vaccines can help prevent severe cases of COVID-19.

Back at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., Bryan said in his case, it was too late.

In hindsight, he said ‘Yes,’ he wishes he would have gotten the vaccine.

“People are saying you know what’s the point of getting the vaccine. I can still get it. And then yes, that’s true. I’m not gonna lie to you—you can still get it. But the chances of it being so severe to where you lose a leg, like I have, I’ve lost my leg. Like I can’t… there’s a lot of things that I’m not going to be able to do anymore in my life.”

“It’s just you don’t realize it until it happens to you and I was just so in denial in that way also,” said Audrey, who was also a vaccine skeptic. “Like, oh my family’s gonna be fine.”

Following her husband’s amputation, she said they’re trying to stay positive.

“We can make the best out of it,” she said. “We are so lucky and so fortunate that we still have him and so many people have died and we still have Bryan.”

Now both hope their family’s story will encourage others to get the shot.

Despite what Bryan has been through, he said he feels great. He’s no longer sick and no longer in pain.

He said getting the vaccine is a lot cheaper than getting a hospital bill.

In a Facebook post, Bryan said: “My covid bill is in and it is over 50k dollar. Luckily I have insurance and they will cover a great deal, but I still owe right around 20%... This amount does not included the amputation in which I actually expect higher amounts since I am still in the hospital and seeing specialists. Any amount helps. This will be a financial burden on my family, but god willing we will overcome.”

Audrey has set up a GoFundMe account to help with Bryan’s medical costs. Click here.

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