Former UAB lineman & SCU patient inspires hundreds to get vaccinated
After spending 79 days in the hospital and 39 on a ventilator due to Covid-19, one Special Care Unit patient, Justin Moon, is on a mission to encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine.
“We were unsure of the vaccine, and we were wrong. My situation did not have to be like this,” says Justin.
Before being diagnosed with Covid-19, Justin and his wife, Mel Moon, were skeptical about the shot due to misinformation. However, after a second surge of coronavirus began to spread, they decided to book their appointment. Unfortunately, they were too late, and both caught the virus just days before they were set to receive their first dose. After that, Justin’s health rapidly deteriorated.
Within a week’s time, Justin went from what seemed like a sinus infection to admission to the hospital to being placed on a ventilator. Shortly thereafter, he was transported to the University of Alabama Hospital, where the Special Care Unit team aided in his recovery.
“During those six weeks on the ventilator, I had no idea that I was fighting for my life,” added Justin. “I actually died for four minutes, and they shocked me and brought me back. It’s a complete miracle that God saved me.”
Previous to his diagnosis, Justin had no underlying health conditions and rarely got sick. He was relatively healthy and had even played as an offensive lineman for the University of Alabama. After 6 weeks of being on a ventilator due to Covid-19, he woke up with a hole in his throat, and was unable to talk, walk or move.
“A lot of people do not realize how this virus takes away your independence,” says Brent Patterson, Special Care Unit Rehabilitation Team Lead and one of Justin’s physical therapists. “People who had lived normal lives prior to getting the virus wake up paralyzed, unable to walk, talk, eat, swallow, among other things they were able to do before. The majority of them come to the realization that they could have done something to prevent this from happening.”
SCU’s goal is to wean vent-dependent patients off of their ventilator within 21 days. The company has helped thousands of patients like Justin regain their autonomy, and its team has witnessed first-hand the long-term damage that Covid-19 can cause.
“Don’t stand still; do your homework. Don’t listen to the wrong sources. Talk to your physician and your family, and make the best decision for you,” says Mel. “We don’t want anyone to have to go through what we have gone through, and that is the lesson we learned.”
Today, the Moons have shared their story with thousands of people, and have motivated at least 250 individuals, including Justin’s family members and coworkers, to get the vaccine.