South Texas man who received COVID-19 double-lung transplant urges public to take virus seriously

SAN ANTONIO – Jose Sosa, 39, is the first person in South Texas to receive a double-lung transplant after complications caused by COVID-19. He’s now warning people about the dangers of the virus and asking people to take the pandemic seriously.

Sosa had trouble breathing and checked into a hospital on July 4 in Corpus Christi after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

He had no underlying health issues and did not know how to contracted COVID-19.

Sosa was transferred to a hospital in San Antonio as his condition worsened. A team at the University Health Transplant Center located at University Hospital evaluated him for a lung transplant.

“It became clear over time (Sosa) was not going to recover from this,” said Dr. Edward Sako, a surgical doctor for the lung transplant program and faculty member at UT Health San Antonio. “That’s how we came to the conclusion he would be a candidate for lung transplant.”

Sako performed the double-lung transplant surgery on Oct. 25.

Sosa was able to go home on Dec. 2, nearly five months after being admitted to the hospital.

“I feel very blessed, thankful, grateful. I’m just happy to be alive,” Sosa said.

Sosa hopes more people will take the virus seriously after hearing his story.

“Quit pretending that it’s fake,” Sosa said during a virtual press conference at University Hospital. “Protect yourself, protect your family. Stay away from as many people as you can who are not in your immediate household.”