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Local man is first COVID-19 lung transplant patient

Jose Sosa before illness - 100 pounds heavier.jpg
Jose Sosa in his hospital bed
Posted at 6:03 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 12:37:52-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — At 39-years-old, local Corpus Christi man, Jose Sosa now has a new pair of lungs that he can breath out of.

On July 4th, Sosa was admitted to a local hospital because he had contracted COVID-19.

He was on a ventilator, then put on ECMO, or Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. A device positioned outside of the body that would help pump blood and oxygen throughout his body.

An experience that Sosa did not expect.

In a private conference with two UT Health System doctors, Dr. Debbie Levine and Dr. Edward Sako, he said he expected to go to the hospital for a couple weeks then head home.

When Sosa was not getting better, he was transported to San Antonio to the UT Health System where he would continue to receive treatment.

The novel coronavirus attacked his respiratory system so bad that he found out he would have to receive a lung transplant.

"Laying in that hospital bed for that long really brought all these thoughts and feelings out and how could I have done things different," said Sosa.

Dr. Sako said from the moment they put Sosa on the transplant list, they received a donor within two to three weeks. The lung transplant surgery itself took about five to six hours.

Sosa was in the hospital for a total of five months, being discharged on December 2.

The process to recovery has been astronomical, Dr. Levine said Sosa has exceeded expectations and continues as he is getting better everyday.

The only effects he has been feeling since, "just slight limitations, ya know,everyday I'm getting myself stronger and the only really support that I need is just to get in and out of the bathtub, that's it," Sosa said.

Although Sosa is unsure where he received his new lungs, he said he his blessed to have a second chance at life. Having gone through this traumatic experience has made him rethink the way he goes about his day-to-day activities and who he is around.

He wanted to send a message for those who may not realize the magnitude of the virus.

"Quit pretending that it's fake, it's a real thing," he said.

"Protect yourself, protect your family, stay away from as many people as you can that are not in your immediate household."

Sosa resides in George West with his girlfriend and mother-in-law who is helping take care of him until he can return to work.

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