Wichita man changes view on vaccine after COVID-19 hospitalization

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - After nine days in the hospital, a Wichita business owner changed his mind on the COVID-19 vaccine. Kasey Beltz said his experience opened his eyes to where and how he was getting information on the vaccine. He’s not pushing for mandates nor telling anyone to get the vaccine. He said he just wants people to look to the right places for information and hopes his story can be a life-saving one.

Beltz, 62, admits that he probably waited too long before deciding to go to the hospital when he got sick with COVID-19.

“I was sitting on the couch, hunched over, trying to breathe,” he said. “My wife was trying to nudge me to go to the hospital.”

Beltz said he was suffocating and couldn’t get enough air in. He said he’ll never forget what the doctor told him after asking if he was a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate).

“You have the doctor who says, ‘people are dying from this virus. If you make it out of here alive, you should recommend it to your family to get vaccinated,’” Beltz said. “I looked and thought, ‘did you miss the bedside manner course?’ I looked at his face and could tell he’s done it 1,000 times.”

Beltz didn’t want the vaccine. Like many Kansans, he didn’t trust it. He even shared that doubt with his employees.

“I stood in front of my employees and said, ‘guys, I don’t know about this. Everyone is concerned about this,’” he said. “I never told them not to (get vaccinated), I wasn’t going to do it myself.”

Beltz’s spent nine days at Ascension Via Christi. Doctors and nurses saved his life and he said he never questioned the doctors advice in the hospital.

“The nurse comes in, starts an IV, I didn’t ask her if the FDA approved it, or ‘what’s in it,’ or what the side effects were,” Beltz said.

At that point, he said he trusted doctors that were working to help him live through his illness. It was at the hospital that Beltz said, a couple of things happened.

“As a Christian, God opened my eyes to the process of me to thee,” he said.

That’s why Beltz decided to share his story. Even if it means others criticize him for it, he wants to help others. He said his experience made him realize how focused he was on himself.

“I think today, we are in such a “me” society,” he said. “Selfies, it’s a self-worship mindset. Everybody wants to think they are the smartest guy in the room, no mater what room they are in.”

As a small business owner, Beltz said he’s still going to leave it up to his employees to make the decision on whether or not to get vaccinated against COViD-19. But he wants to arm them with information. He’s leaning on the Mayo Clinic now and working to get a doctor from Ascension Via Christi to come speak to his staff.

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