CHARLESTON – A mom whose son is fighting for his life stole the show Monday at Gov. Jim Justice’s daily briefing on Covid-19 in West Virginia.
“He decided not to get vaccinated,” Linda Lanier said of her son, Joe Goodnite. “I hope by sharing his story, it will change some people’s minds.”
Lanier says her son, who is known by many locally as an MMA fighter and who has 2 young boys of his own, recently began his 7th week on a ventilator battling the disease.
“Joey chose not to be vaccinated because he listened to all the negative and false accusations about the vaccination,” Lanier said. “Being in the medical field myself, I tried my best to convince him. However, it didn’t work.”
After developing severe symptoms while on vacation, Lanier says her son sought medical attention upon his return home and was admitted immediately.
“The next morning I received a call from the doctor,” Lanier said. “He said, ‘Your boy is in trouble.’”
Before long, Lanier says Goodnite was on an ECMO life-support machine.
“The ECMO was removed after about five weeks, but he’s still sedated, on a vent, and we’re now heading into seven weeks,” Lanier said.
“Before Joey got so sick that he couldn’t talk, he told people, ‘Get vaccinated. You don’t want this stuff,’” Lanier added. “If you have questions, go to a physician. Go to someone that knows. Let them answer your questions because that’s where the true answers are.
“This Covid is a monster. I mean, if it can take down my son, the MMA fighter...what’s it going to do to the average person? What’s it going to do to your children? You need to take this very serious.”
Gov. Justice backed up Lanier’s plea.
“If this dreaded disease can take down this tremendous athlete, a man that is strong beyond belief, and very young in years, can it not take us all down? That’s what this testimony is all about,” Gov. Justice said. “By having the courage to share this story, this is a family that has absolutely stepped up to try to help all of us.”
Goodnite’s pulmonologist is Dr. Tom Takubo, who serves in the State Senate.
“Linda’s story is not unique,” Takubo said. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve had to, as medical workers — the nurses and respiratory therapists, the physicians — we’ve had to relive this over and over and over, time and time again.
“What we’re seeing now is that this is a pandemic, primarily, of the unvaccinated. Be careful about what you’re reading on social media, what you’re reading on the internet. Listen to your local providers, they’re seeing this firsthand.
“The one thing I’m seeing is that the vaccine does work. Eighty-eight to 95 percent of all patients being admitted are unvaccinated. So you have to look at the real numbers.”