'Protect yourself and your family': Fort Worth man who recovered from COVID-19 warning others to be safe

A Fort Worth man who has fully recovered from COVID-19 is warning others to take this virus seriously.

The 65-year-old nearly died in April after 16 days on a ventilator.

Jimmy Doss is now starting to get his strength back after battling COVID-19.

He went into rehab in a wheelchair and left rehab on his own two feet.

A line of healthcare workers celebrated Doss as he walked out of his last day of rehab at Lifecare Hospital of Fort Worth.

The end of April marked his recovery from the coronavirus.

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“I started out in a walker so we went out in the hallway and I made a full lap with the walker. Then she said can you do it without the walker, so I set the walker aside and I just took off and started walking,” he explained.

It was something that, at one point, didn't seem possible.

Doss spent 16 days on a ventilator after testing positive for COVID-19 at the end of March.

He barely remembers any of his stay at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest.

“I asked them, the nurses and all, in the condition that my husband was in, how many people had come in, in that condition, and you know, successfully left? And they said zero. It was critical, it was severe, they did not think he was going to make it,” Doss’ wife, Phyllis, said.

But Doss defied all odds, even with diabetes and stage 1 prostate cancer.

His breathing slowly started to improve.

He credits his recovery to the nurses, doctors, and resources available to him. But that was three months ago, before hospitals were being overwhelmed by this current surge of coronavirus cases.

“I can only sympathize with anyone that would go out unnecessarily and not protect themselves with the way the infection rate is now, because see, I felt after I thought about it that I was very fortunate because they had plenty of ventilators at that point in time the capacity at the hospital was low capacity,” Doss said.

He’s now back at home fully recovered, and he wants his battle with COVID-19 to be a warning to others.

“I say to anyone, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, protect yourself and your family at all costs because this has no name on it. It’s indiscriminate in terms of who gets actually exposed to it,” Doss added.

Those with underlying health conditions aren't the only ones being hospitalized, many healthy people have ended up in the same position and some have even died.

There are still many unknowns with the virus, which is why state leaders say wearing a mask is so important.


Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases

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