SSM Health Medical Minute – COVID survivor: ‘In a matter of 24 hours, I went from ok to nearly dying’

Medical Minute

ST. LOUIS – Jim McLaughlin is a resident and the former Mayor of Pasadena Hills.

Back in March 2020, he was living his life as a father, husband, and partner at his company McLaughlin Metal Sales when he realized he was coming down with symptoms of COVID-19.

McLaughlin said every time he turned on the news and new information was coming out about the symptoms, he started checking the list. But at that time, finding a testing site was not an organized process and most testing places were only testing people who had direct exposure. He finally got a test but the results were slow.

So he quarantined and his family began to lockdown. But his symptoms worsened. He called his brother, a physician with ESSE Health who works at SSM Health DePaul Hospital, who told him to come to the ER and get tested.

“I just thought I’d get the test so that I could be sure,” McLaughlin said. “I was trying to protect my parents who are around me a lot. I really had no idea I was in real trouble.”

McLaughlin said he thought he was just going in for a test. He recalls getting his nose swabbed and nothing after that.

“I got here and woke up 11 days later having spent most a few of those days in the ICU,” he said. “My wife didn’t even kiss me goodbye when she dropped me off. She thought she would be picking me up later.”

He was so sick, he nearly lost his life.

“There were a few days in there that were very touch and go I was told afterward,” he said.

McLaughlin praised the caring staff at SSM Health DePaul Hospital for their interventions. He was given medication in addition to being on a ventilator. Jim says the staff treated him with incredible dignity and respect. They helped him celebrate his daughter’s birthday via Zoom when he woke up. He said he remembers the names of every nurse, and his respiratory therapist Paul. He said he wishes he could go back in and thank and hug each of the nurses and doctors who took such great care of him.

And the follow up has been incredible as well. Jim says only in the last month or so has he felt back to normal. He struggled with extreme fatigue for many months working his way back to playing golf and recently winning a senior club championship despite his setback this year. He was encouraged by the staff at SSM Health to donate plasma which he said he was glad to do anything to pay it forward.

McLaughlin doesn’t know specifically where he got COVID but says he is grateful for the amazing team at SSM Health DePaul Hospital for saving his life. He will tell anyone how serious COVID-19 can turn very quickly. He preaches what we hear every day.

“Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Socially distance. It may seem like an inconvenience but we all need to think about others.”

To get a virtual screening for COVID-19 from SSM Health, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.

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