'God was at work': Man released from Fort Worth hospital after 23-day battle with COVID-19

A 65-year-old retiree with pre-existing conditions spent 16 days on a ventilator after testing positive for COVID-19 at the end of March. He still has weeks of rehabilitation ahead of him.

Jimmy Doss moved from Southern California to North Texas to enjoy retirement with his wife. But the active couple still worked part-time delivering packages. And the family believes that’s how Jimmy contracted the coronavirus.

A team of nurses and doctors at Texas Health Harris Hospital Southwest in Fort Worth cheered on Jimmy after a 23-day battle against COVID-19.

[REPORTER: "How were you feeling in that moment?"]

“Gigantic, like a gigantic effort has just been made,” he said.

The retired machinist – who is living with diabetes, emphysema and stage 1 prostate cancer - calls his survival a miracle. 

His daughter, Pamela, and wife, Phyllis, started noticing symptoms of COVID-19 in late March.

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“He was breathing heavy. So what I noticed was for every one breath I took, he took four. And he was coughing,” Pamela recalled.

“I felt warm. Hot,” Jimmy said. “On the norm, my temp is generally around 97, but when it started getting toward 103, I said it’s time, let’s go.”

Doctors placed him on a ventilator within 45 minutes of arriving at the hospital.

“They took him and it was like they just swept him up and I didn’t know what was happening, you know,” Phyllis said. “It was like my world was crashing.”

Her husband of 46 years spent the next 16 days on a ventilator.

The timeline is fuzzy for Jimmy, but after many prayers, he was discharged.

He is now in a rehabilitation center, where he’ll be for three weeks.

Five days after Jimmy’s diagnosis, his daughter tested positive as well.

Her symptoms were mild by comparison.

“For me, don’t take anything for granted anymore,” Pamela said,

The family is now looking forward to reuniting in a few weeks.

“It’s just a miracle. God was at work, he showed us he is still alive,” Phyllis added.

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