KEY POINTS

  • His girlfriend said the man was scared of the vaccine 
  • Thompson suffered a cardiac arrest and was on life support
  • He was with Randolph County Emergency Services from 2013

A North Carolina-based 911 operator who died of COVID-19 reportedly regretted his decision to not get vaccinated. His girlfriend said he knew "he made the wrong decision" while he was on his death bed.

Joey Thompson, who worked with Randolph County Emergency Services, died Monday after a three-week-long battle with the virus. His death came a day after his birthday and a day before his son's, reported Charlotte Observer. Thompson's son Caleb turned nine on Tuesday.

Thompson's girlfriend, Lynn Smith, said he was against getting vaccinated. "He was fine and healthy at one point, and then the next minute, he is on life support," Smith told News 2 just after Thompson's hospitalization.

"About six or seven days after symptoms started, he had breathing difficulties and got admitted to a local hospital with hypoxia or decreased oxygen," Smith said. His condition went downhill quickly. 

He was put on life support but had a heart attack shortly after. Though Thompson recovered from it, he needed maximum ventilator support.

"He was scared of the vaccine. He was scared of the side effects he was seeing from different age groups, and his thought process was, 'I'm young, I'm healthy, I'm outgoing, I'm active, if I do get it, it'll be minor,'" she said. 

Smith added that Thompson later regretted his decision. "Three days before, he was put on life support, and he said he made the wrong decision. He wished he would have gotten the vaccine," Smith told News 2. 

Smith is now on a mission to make people aware of the importance of getting vaccinated. "If you're young, if you're healthy, it doesn't matter. This virus shows no mercy," Smith said. 

Thompson worked with Randolph County Emergency Services for nine years. The agency said his "unique deep voice, wonderful sense of humor and thoughtfulness will be greatly missed."

"In addition to being an awesome 9-1-1 Telecommunicator, Joey never met a stranger and has hundreds, if not thousands, of friends to prove it," the emergency services said in a Facebook post. "His love for his son is beyond measure. His love for his family, friends and community was unwavering. We are grateful he is no longer suffering, and in knowing that he’s in a much better place."

Health workers tend to a Covid-19 patient in the ICU at a hospital in Florencio Varela, Argentina in April 2021 Representation. Health workers tend to a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at a hospital. Photo: AFP / RONALDO SCHEMIDT