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41-year-old returns home after battling COVID in ICU

James Owen sent this message to people while at UF Health North last week: ‘For yourself, for your loved ones, get vaccinated’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Last week, James Owen thought he might end up dying as a result of COVID-19.

News4Jax met the 41-year-old while he was in the intensive care unit at UF Health North. He was bad off and wanted to let people know something.

“For yourself, for your loved ones, get vaccinated,” the Navy veteran said Wednesday.

James Owen, who has not been vaccinated, has since returned home, where he is now recovering with his wife, Ashely. Both contracted COVID-19 while at a Fourth of July party, although his wife did not have to go to the hospital.

James Owen is doing much better but is not out of the woods.

“Today was a pretty rough one. Last night, my oxygen came out, so she had to wake me up and put it in,” he told News4Jax on Tuesday. “So the last few hours, I’ve struggled to breathe a little bit.”

News4Jax asked James Owen if there are any concerns about long-term health implications.

“I don’t think there is enough research yet to know if there is going to be any,” he said. “It was kind of questionable whenever I would ask, being that I’m asthmatic, and no one could answer the questions.”

“We have not been able to get him in to see his regular doctor either,” Ashley Owen said. “I think they’re just overwhelmed with everything that is going on.”

Both are staying quarantined in their home and both say that by telling their story, they’re helping others.

“Numerous people that were on the fence said that my story pushed them over to getting the vaccination, and that’s coming from some very hardheaded people that I have served with or from all walks of life that might be stuck in their ways that have made the change and either have already gotten vaccinated or are working on it as we speak,” James Owen said.

Ashley Owen said: “We had a friend who was anti-, absolutely no, no, no, didn’t believe in COVID, and she got her first vaccination today.”

James Owen said it was rough in the hospital and still is, but he said to be able to help others not end up in this condition makes the struggle worth it.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.