Healthcare worker recovering from COVID-19 hopes story motivates unvaccinated

LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — A local healthcare worker who chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine and then nearly lost her life to the virus hopes her story motivates the unvaccinated to get their shot.

“I got up to use the bathroom. When I was getting up I realized I was so weak that I could not raise my head off the pillow and I was like, ‘Well man, something is wrong,’” Lateasa McLean said.

That was the start of a terrifying, near-death experience for McLean. She was at home, trying to get through a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. She had already been to the hospital once to be treated.

“All I know is when I woke up, I had fainted. I was laying on the floor,” she said.

Managing to crawl to the phone, she called her daughter, who rushed over and called 911.

“That was the scariest thing to me because I knew I had COVID, and you hear so many things of people dying,” McLean recalled watching her family see her going to the hospital a second time. “My grandson, and my granddaughter, they’re wheeling me out and I’m thinking, ‘Is this going to be the last time that I see them?’”

She would spend seven days in the hospital.

“Things just started going through my mind. I should have gotten vaccinated and now I’m putting my family through this, for something I could have prevented,” McLean said. “Nobody should have to go through this. Nobody.”

McLean is a patient representative/patient safety sitter at Atrium Health Lincoln, who works on the front lines. But she was hesitant to get the vaccine.

“Please, I just want everybody to listen to my story and please just get vaccinated because this is no joke. COVID is real. All over, people are dying, and that could have been me,” she said.

She’s now looking forward to getting the vaccine and said her experience has changed the minds of many people around her who have now gotten the vaccine.

(WATCH: Beloved nurse dies after COVID-19 battle at hospital where she worked)

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