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‘I know he’s a miracle’: Pineville man continues nearly 200 day journey in hospital fighting COVID-19

Bell County native Jeff Cox has spent nearly 200 days in four different hospitals battling...
Bell County native Jeff Cox has spent nearly 200 days in four different hospitals battling COVID-19.(WYMT)
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 11:09 PM CDT
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PINEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Bell County native Jeff Cox has spent nearly 200 days in four different hospitals battling COVID-19.

His battle with the virus began, when he was admitted to Middlesboro ARH on October 20 with double pneumonia and low oxygen. Just days before, his wife Susan Cox was released from the hospital following her own COVID-19 complications.

“[The doctor] just didn’t give us any hope. He told us how sick he was and they would do what they could do for him that Middlesboro had took good care of him but they didn’t know if they could save him,” said Susan Cox.

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Jeff was put on a ventilator and flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Doctors at UT sedated Jeff. Susan was only able to visit her husband twice.

“The doctors told me they had done all they could do. There wasn’t any more medicine that it was up to his body to get better,” said Susan. “They wanted me to sign a DNR. They said doing CPR would be really traumatic on him.”

His oxygen levels continued to drop, along with blood clots in his lungs, infections and other complications.

“They were constantly calling and saying, ‘You need to think about the ventilator. Does he want to live like that?’ and I said well he would want us to fight for him,” Susan said.

On January 1, doctors began to wean Jeff off of sedation medicine.

“He was laughing and joking with the doctors and was himself you know able to respond to questions and he had never been able to do that before,” said Susan.

Recovery was an uphill battle, but doctors were able to treat the fluid in Jeff’s lungs and soon he was moved to Select Specialty Hospital in North Knoxville. Several weeks later, he was transferred again, this time to Rockcastle Regional Hospital.

“I think he’s lost 50 pounds is what he has lost, but since he’s been at Rockcastle he’s gained 10 back,” said Susan.

Jeff is now focusing on therapy. Breathing therapy has been the hardest part, as he learns how to breathe on his own once again.

“He finally buckled down and started doing it, and I think that made him really proud of himself and the things he was doing. Now they’re actually letting him do therapy without the ventilator,” said Susan.

The Cox family says their faith is the reason they got through dark times. Their community at Wasioto Baptist Church was constantly praying for Jeff’s recovery.

“I know that he’s a miracle, and I tell him that but he don’t understand it because he don’t realize how sick he was. I told him when he comes home I’ll tell him the whole story,” said Susan.

After nearly 200 days, missing out on first birthdays and weddings, Jeff is set to come home in the coming weeks.

“He wouldn’t have made it. He wouldn’t have survived without everybody praying for him,” said Susan. “I just can’t wait. He says we’re going to go to the beach when he gets better.”

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