Unvaccinated Woman Almost Died of COVID 4 Times in 7-Month Hospital Ordeal

An Arizona woman has returned home for the first time since she was hospitalized with COVID in July 2021. Claudia Patterson's illness was so severe that her heart stopped four times and her lungs lost almost all functionality.

The 55-year-old grandmother was unvaccinated when she became ill, and is now encouraging others to get vaccinated against COVID.

"If you're questioning whether you should get the COVID shot, my opinion is that you should because I didn't. I would just say do whatever it takes for you and your family to be protected," said Patterson.

She was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Glendale, Arizona, on Thursday, July 8. Shortly after her arrival she was placed on a ventilator to help her breathe. However, her condition continued to deteriorate, so much so that her lung functionality dropped to just 15 percent, 12 News reports.

At that point her breathing had to be outsourced to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which is essentially an artificial lung. It oxygenates the blood externally, giving the patient's lungs time to heal. Patterson's life depended on it for four months.

The medics who were treating her feared that she would require a lung transplant in order to survive. She suffered four cardiac arrests and has been fitted with a pacemaker as a result.

"You're sitting there in one position. I had a trach collar on that had to be lined up for me to breathe," said Patterson. "It was a lot, and I didn't think I could make it at times. There were times where I just said 'God just take me.'"

On Thursday, January 20, she was deemed to be healthy enough to be discharged from hospital and continue her recovery at home. However, due to the damage suffered by her lungs, Patterson still requires treatment for her breathing.

"I was in the hospital for seven long months—not weeks, but months. So, to be out of the hospital is... I can't even describe the feeling," she said.

63.4 percent of people who are eligible for a COVID vaccination in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, according to figures published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, January 24.

Meanwhile, 75.6 percent of people who are eligible for the vaccine in the U.S. have had at least one dose.

The CDC has also revealed that in December, 16 times more unvaccinated adults were hospitalized by COVID than vaccinated adults.

A woman on a ventilator in hospital
A woman is pictured on a ventilator in hospital. Claudia Patterson's heart stopped four times and she had to spend four months relying on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine to breathe after being admitted to hospital with COVID in July. Wavebreakmedia/iStock