In-Depth: Central Texas man sent to Lubbock to fight COVID-19

Near death from COVID-19, Jim Randolph shares his story.
Near death from COVID-19, Jim Randolph shares his story.
Rural nurses working several hours overtime
Rural area hospital struggled to find beds for COVID-19 patients
Goodall-Witcher Hospital Authority Clifton Medical Clinic
Posted at 8:11 AM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 17:25:16-04

Tucked behind trees and on lots of land is the home of Jim Randolph.

During the last surge of COVID-19 Randolph thought he had a cold or maybe the flu. It quickly became evident that it was something else.

"We knew we had to do something," said Randolph.

Jim Randolph shares living through the deadly virus.
Jim Randolph speaks about how difficult it was to breath during a flight to a Lubbock hospital.

Living in rural areas, a trip to the hospital is not always easy or close. Thirty minutes away was Goodall-Witcher Healthcare.

"They said 'hey we don’t have the supplies to keep you here very long. You're going to have to have some longer term healthcare.' They called ten or 11 hospitals trying to find a bed for me," said Randolph.

Rural Hospitals for years have seen financial cuts.

Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals says the operating cost of rural hospitals can be higher on a per-patient basis. That's because of low patient volume, patient numbers of day to day, recruitment difficulties.

Rural nurses working several hours overtime
Joicesarah Mccabe leading a small team of nurses, discusses her experience in a pandemic.

Because of the lack of equipment and how bad off Randolph was sending him to another hospital was the option. The pandemic was filling up bigger hospitals. Goodall-Witcher Healthcare spent hours trying to find a place.

Rural area hospital struggled to find beds for COVID-19 patients
After the this last surge of COVID-19 it was all hands on deck. Goodall-Witcher Hospital taking a moment to check dates on supplies.

During that time the staff tried to get him to a good spot to transport him. The closest spot was 7 hours away in Lubbock. They would have to fly him. The flight was difficult and at moments it became difficult to breathe.

"Next thing you know I’m in and out of conscious," said Randolph.

In his recliner, he says he thought we was going to die. His oxygen level was falling in the lower 80s.

"Near-death really makes you think," said Randolph.

He was able to pull through it and was released from the hospital. The road is still long.

Before the pandemic, Randolph says he didn't take any medication. Now, he uses a walker temporarily and walking long distances is difficult.

"Get started earlier and don’t assume it’s a cold," said Randolph.

He credits the rural hospital for saving his life.