Unvaccinated Mississippi Man Says He Thought COVID Was 'Little Bit of a Risk,' Lost Leg

A Mississippi man who was unvaccinated against COVID-19 and thought himself to be low-risk has now lost a leg after hospitalization from the virus.

Bryan Thompson, 43, who works in information technology from home, described himself as being "a little skeptical" of the coronavirus vaccine, saying he thought it "got rushed."

In retrospect, Thompson says "Yes," he wishes he had gotten the vaccine.

"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."

However, since he contracted the COVID-19 virus and ended up in a hospital for his severe symptoms, his point of view has changed. Now, according to reporting from FOX8, Thompson hopes others will learn from his journey of going from a vaccine skeptic to a vaccine believer.

Mississippi vaccine
A Mississippi man who was unvaccinated against COVID-19 and thought himself to be low-risk has now lost a leg after hospitalization from the virus. Here, health workers prepare to vaccinate people at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic in a rural Delta community on April 29, 2021, in Leland, Mississippi. Spencer Platt/Getty

Thompson said after he contracted COVID-19 he had a fever, then pneumonia, which landed him in the hospital.

"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."

COVID-19 can have unexpected effects that last longer than anticipated. Even after Thompson was deemed sufficiently recovered and was discharged, he began feeling what he describes as excruciating pain in one of his legs overnight.

"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."

Thompson's wife, Audrey, rushed him to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with blood clots, and it was determined he needed to have an amputation underneath the knee.

Blood clots are one of the more rare complications of COVID-19 according to Dr. Fred Lopez with Louisiana State University Health. Sometimes blood thinners can be given to mitigate the harm in these cases, but in Thompson's case, it was too late.

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

The family has set up a funding page to try to pay for some of their hospital costs. Thompson said getting a vaccine, which is free, is a lot cheaper than hospital bills.

In a Facebook post, Thompson said: "My covid bill is in and it is over 50k dollars. Luckily I have insurance and they will cover a great deal, but I still owe right around 20%...This amount does not include 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."

Newsweek reached out to Dr. Fred Lopez for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.