COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — A local family is speaking out and urging the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after experiencing the devastating impact of the virus firsthand. Paige Davis works for UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central and has witnessed the pain and suffering many families of COVID patients experience.
"I clean rooms, I clean offices, I'm all around the hospital and you can tell a COVID patient quickly, especially when you're going through the ICU," she explained.
Davis wasn't expecting that heartbreak to hit so close to home. In August, her adult son and daughter who live in Philadelphia both tested positive for COVID. Her son was vaccinated and recovered. Her daughter Candice was not and the virus hit her especially hard.
"Her goal was to get the vaccination, but she just didn't get to it," Davis said. "So, she wasn't vaccinated and it took out her heart."
Candice, age 30, has been in the hospital since August 17. She survived at one point with the aid of an ECMO machine, a medical device that assists the heart and lungs. Poor circulation caused permanent damage in her arms and legs leaving doctors needing to amputate.
"She lost one arm below the elbow, the other arm above the elbow, one leg below the knee, and a half a foot on the right," Davis said.
"I didn't think COVID could take limbs."
Candice's health is improving today. Paige shared a video of her balancing a bible and reading scripture from her hospital bed. She flew to Philadelphia this weekend to check on Candice's progress.
"She hurts, she's going through it, she beats herself up," Davis said. "She cries more than all of us, but she's the strongest link between the both of us because of what happened to her."
Candice said she wants people to be inspired by her recovery because it shows that you can beat COVID. Her family also hopes that others will avoid the pain the virus has caused them by getting vaccinated.
"I just wish everybody would get the shot, my thing is what have you got to lose," Davis said.
Candice will soon need to be fitted for prosthetics and is preparing to face a lengthy time in physical therapy as she recovers. She and her brother Starr (Aali) will also need to relocate to a more accessible place to live.
Starr opened a page on an online fundraising site to help the family pay for the expenses that come with this transition in life.