Neosho graduate battling COVID
Vincent Simone, a 2016 Neosho graduate, is fighting for his life.
Simone tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID19) on Jun. 15 and is currently at a hospital in St. Louis, the only hospital that could accept him from Freeman Neosho Hospital, with a 30-50% chance of survival.
He was transferred there at the end of June when his condition deteriorated enough to the point where he had to be put on a ventilator.
Simone is currently sedated while on the ventilator and an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO). The ECMO takes all of the blood out of the body, removes the carbon dioxide and puts oxygen back in the blood before going back into the body.
His mother, Sara Armstrong, said Simone is a diabetic with a genetic condition who hadn’t been vaccinated and his condition worsened quite quickly.
“It really didn't make any difference to him until he got a respiratory disease. It was like one or two days and he just couldn't breathe anymore,” said Armstrong. “I mean, it just... He just couldn't breathe anymore.”
His wife, Hannah, said Simone began feeling sick on the Friday before Jun. 15, a span of just four days, but COVID wasn’t even on their radar initially.
“He thought that he might've had a heat stroke at work on Thursday,” said Hannah. “So, we thought that his sleeping so much was just him recovering from that because he's a plumber. He’s a bigger man so it wasn't uncommon for him to get really heat exhausted. So that's just what we thought it was.”
“Then he got a call on Tuesday that he was exposed to someone with COVID and COVID had never even crossed our minds honestly,” said Hannah. “We took him to get tested on Tuesday. He was positive. And then on Thursday he went into the hospital because his breathing was so shallow that he couldn't handle it anymore.”
Simone was put on the ventilator on Jun. 27 and the ECMO the next day.
The same day he was put on the ECMO, the family was told he had a 30-50% chance of survival.
Prior to Simone, the family hadn’t dealt with COVID up close but since he’s tested positive, three others in the household have tested positive.
They’ve been quarantined together since Simone initially tested positive and will be until Jul. 11 if no one else in the home tests positive.
The last time Hannah was able to see Simone was right before he got transferred to St. Louis.
“I had to gown up and everything, but I was the only one that got to see him,” said Hannah. “And when he tested positive, actually his mom was out of town visiting her sister in Springfield for a week and a half. So, she hasn't seen him since a week and a half before he tested positive on the 15th.”
“It’s hard,” added Armstrong.
“Nobody else has seen him since the 15th,” said Hannah. “And really, we didn't even see him for a couple of days before that, because he was in our bedroom.”
Doctors told the family that two weeks is the minimum amount of time that Simone will be on the ventilator and ECMO and that the longest they’ve ever had a patient on ECMO was six weeks.
“So, we're hoping,” said Hannah. “but once we hit six weeks, if he's still on it and they can't wean him off, we don't know what will happen at that point or what the doctors will suggest.”
With their house currently under construction and the situation escalating so quickly, Hannah said the road has been rough but they’re very thankful for friends and family that’ve been able to make deliveries as well as assisting in helping set up a GoFundMe for Simone.
Simone was the only one in the household with a stable income and Armstrong’s husband had a massive stroke in January that led to them moving in with the Simone’s.
“It's been a little bit of a struggle,” said Armstrong. “Just doing what we can do, and like Hannah said if it wasn't for... Vincent has so many friends, I'm just kind of overwhelmed. The number of friends he has, and what they've done for us. Bringing groceries and paper products and just sending us messages and praying for us. It's just overwhelming.”
The family named the GoFundMe page “Help Vincent Simone and Family Conquer Covid-19” because the root of his name comes from a Latin word meaning “conquering.”
You can help by sharing the GoFundMe the family has set up for Simone, https://gofund.me/e204d845, and the hashtag #Pray4VINCE.