A Rutherford County father who became an advocate for the COVID vaccine from his ICU bed has returned home to his family in Lascassas after a two-month stay at Ascension Saint Thomas.
A month ago, Joe Gammon was on life support at Saint Thomas West. And his odds of recovering from COVID — even at age 44 — were not good. But he turned a corner. And then he was discharged to a round of applause. He rang a ceremonial bell to mark his departure.
His story, first told by WPLN News, has now been picked up across the country, but it’s also had an impact on his immediate family. His brother decided he’d get the vaccine as a result, Gammon says. So did his teenage daughters.
“I wasn’t wanting to turn this into a political football where people would think that here’s another person that’s just on the radar, and they’re going to tell us about how we need to go get vaccinated,” he says. “But I really wish other people would at least heed the advice of their doctors.”
Gammon says he intends to ask his primary care doctor if he should still get the COVID vaccine, and he expects the answer will be yes, though likely after a few more weeks. And he’ll gladly take it — in honor of the doctors and nurses who cared for him in the ICU.
“They literally saved my life,” he says. “And I could never thank them enough.”