- A 24-year-old contracted COVID-19 in Florida
- He was airlifted to Georgia to be put on ECMO circuit
- He underwent a double lung transplant at the University of Maryland
A 24-year-old man with COVID-19 is wishing he was vaccinated after spending months in the hospital and needing a double lung transplant.
Blake Bargatze was the only one in his family to not get vaccinated and was infected with the virus in April while in Florida, his family told WSB-TV.
For over three months, Bargatze has been in three different hospitals from Florida, to Georgia and then landing at the ICU at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
“I just don’t ever want anybody else to go through this,” his mother Cheryl Nuclo told the station.
His mother said Bargatze did vape regularly but did not have diabetes or hypertension, underlying medical conditions that can worsen COVID-19 symptoms. As for getting the vaccine, Paul Nuclo, Bargatze’s stepfather, said his stepson wanted to wait.
“He wanted to wait a few years to see you know, if there’s any side effects or anything from it,” he told WSB-TV. “As soon as he got in the hospital, though, he said he wished he had gotten the vaccine.”
Days after contracting the virus, Bargatze was struggling to breath and was put on a ventilator at a south Florida ICU, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
The doctors wanted to place him on the most aggressive form of life support — an ECMO circuit. The ECMO machines works by pumping blood outside the body, reoxygenating it, and then putting blood back into the body, so the lungs and heart can rest.
When doctors had a hard time ventilating him in Florida, he was airlifted Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Peter Barrett, Piedmont Healthcare’s Director of ECMO, told the family his lungs were not going to recover and his only hope was to have a lung transplant.
“I was, like, ‘No, no,” Nuclo told Fox 5 Atlanta. “Because I know it’s probably the hardest transplant to go through, and the longevity is not good. But, then there are some people that have lived many years.”
Bargatze was taken to the University of Maryland where he underwent a double lung transplant on June 28. Last week, he was still on a ventilator and unable to speak.
Nuclo said her son has a long recovery ahead and wants his situation to be a wake-up call for young people.
“Blake isn’t the only 24-year-old this has happened to, or younger people. Like I said, COVID is real. It’s not gone. People need to be aware and be careful, ” she told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: [email protected]
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