North Texas COVID Survivor Battles Lingering Asthmatic Issues

A severe asthma attack, possibly worsened by a prior COVID-19 infection, nearly cost the life of a Fort Worth man

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Doctors are still following the long-term effects of a COVID-19 infection.

A North Texas man may be able to offer insight after nearly losing his life to an asthma attack months after he had COVID-19.

Tragedy struck the Vargas household when Ben Vargas died of COVID-19.

His son, Keegan Vargas, got COVID-19 at the same time as his father but recovered after a few days.

Five months later, the long-time asthma sufferer had an asthma attack unlike any he's experienced before.

He told his mother to call 911.

"They tried to put IV in me and we looked at each other that's when I passed out," said Vargas.

Tests showed Vargas's lungs were so inflamed and filled with mucus, a ventilator wouldn't help.

Doctors, instead, had to use extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to oxygenate his blood.

He couldn't move or speak.

He spent 25 days in the hospital, some of those in a medically induced coma.

Doctors believe the damage from his prior COVID infection fueled this asthma attack to a near-fatal episode.

"COVID can take a very real toll on someone with asthma, especially someone who has uncontrolled asthma. At baseline, it can be life or death for someone who has that kind of difficulty breathing," said Texas Health Fort Worth pulmonologist Dr. Jonathan Besas.

Shortness of breath continues to be a reported long haul COVID symptom and to this day, Vargas says he still struggles with breathing but he's grateful for the support that helped him survive.

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