Mother of man fighting COVID on ventilator wants others to take virus seriously

‘We are just trying to get through this,’ Susan Welch says

Man with down syndrome fighting against COVID on ventilator; He'd hoped to get vaccine
Man with down syndrome fighting against COVID on ventilator; He'd hoped to get vaccine

Susan Welch has recovered from COVID and is recovering from a stroke because of it.

She had just returned to work as a Walmart greeter in Sandusky in Sanilac County. That’s where she thinks she got COVID.

READ: University of Michigan host virtual discussion on vaccines, rising numbers

“When people come to Walmart I tell them they have to put a mask on. They laugh at me and say, ‘No. It’s just a government hoax.’ That’s the hardest part of going back to work. I’ve seen what it can do.”

Her son, Vincent Welch, is on a ventilator and fighting COVID. The 35-year-old is living with Down syndrome and was at a low risk for catching the virus, but he still did.

UPDATE: Vincent Welch died about 5 a.m. Friday, April 16, his mother said.

“Things went from having what we thought were seasonal allergies to falling on his face and turning blue,” Welch said.

His oxygen levels plummeted. He was put on a ventilator at a hospital in his area and then airlifted to Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor.

“They called for my permission to do a trache tomorrow morning. That is what they are going to do to make him more comfortable,” she said.

Susan Welch is seeing what COVID is doing to her son and still facing dangers at work.

“Still. It’s laughed at me. About, ‘We are not going to wear a mask. We don’t have to.’ It is hard on me. I want to say, ‘You should see my son. You may believe me,’” she said. “We are just trying to get through this.”

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About the Author:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.