For COVID-19 Survivors, Accessing Extra Oxygen Can Be a Challenge

A Midlothian man says getting portable oxygen has been a challenge

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For some COVID-19 survivors, the battle seems to never end.

For many, medical oxygen has become a part of daily life. It’s a necessity to boost blood oxygen levels. But getting the oxygen can be a challenge.

Despite being vaccinated, Jerry Miller was hospitalized for 13 days with the delta variant.

“I was told by the doctor that if I hadn't had the vaccine, I’d be dead,” Miller said.

He was prescribed oxygen when he was released.

At home in Midlothian, he depends on an oxygen concentrator which plugs into a wall.

When he leaves, it's with a portable tank in tow.

“Portable is what I’ve had the problem with,” Miller explained.

He says he's had to jump through hoops and spend hours on the phone securing the tanks he needs.

Last week, he says he barely had enough to drive to a supplier.

“Praise Lord, I had enough to make it but it was breathing fumes,” Miller said.

Worldwide, in areas hit hard by the pandemic, medical-grade oxygen has been in short supply, a problem President Biden addressed at the U.N. Assembly on Wednesday.

"We need to act now to get shots in arms as fast as possible and expand access to oxygen, test, treatments to save lives around the world,” President Biden said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says it hasn’t “seen a widespread shortage of oxygen, though there have been periodic spot shortages at certain facilities.”

Miller, who checks his blood oxygen level throughout the day, says accessing extra oxygen is a constant concern.

So is how long he'll need it.

“The good lord's will, I'll get back to where I was, I hope,” Miller said.

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