Former COVID ICU patient gains new perspective on life

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Posted at 10:13 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 23:32:23-04

LASCASSAS, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nine months after first speaking with Joe Gammon — a COVID ICU patient at Ascension St. Thomas West — he said he's gained a new perspective on life.

Gammon's struggle with COVID included a two-month hospital stay, including waking up from a coma. He said a collage of family photos in his hospital room that his wife made helped motivate him to keep fighting.

These days, Gammon said he gets the most out of the little moments around his home, even around his kitchen table.

"I think sometimes we take for granted a lot of things in life," Gammon says. "We assume everything‘s going to be all right all the time, and your life could forever change in a New York minute."

Gammon defied the odds after being hooked up to a specialized machine called an ECMO unit that pumped and re-oxygenated blood outside his body.

Now Gammon said he looks at life a little differently than before his experience.

"I feel like I didn't have time to stop and absorb the moment going on, the experience, and now I feel like I've been given a second chance at that, with a purpose," Gammon said.

After leaving the hospital, Joe said he was determined to work through his therapy program as fast as he could so he could see his kids.

He says he did it in seven days: a record for recovery.