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Unvaccinated Georgia Teen Tyler Fairley Dies Of COVID-19 In Georgia, Family Accuses Doctors of Negligence

A Georgia family has accused doctors of being callous while treating their teenage son because he was unvaccinated and hospitalized with COVID-19.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler Fairley of Douglas County, Ga. died from COVID-19 on Aug. 1, WSBTV reported. The teenager was an all-region offensive lineman at Douglas County High School. Fairley was at football practice when he collapsed.

His mother, Tosha Nettles, said that the doctors treating Fairley at the Douglas Wellstar Medical Center were upset that he hadn’t been vaccinated. Nettles and her husband had to rush Fairley to the hospital twice, and she noted that the doctors were openly frustrated. Nettles said that it was unbearable watching her son suffering from COVID-19. Tyler also had several seizures.

“I believe the doctor became offended by that because his words were, ‘This is COVID, this is what we’ve been seeing for a year and a half. It’s just got to run its course,’” said Nettles. “I said, ‘Well, he’s sick, and I mean he’s not disrespectful, never been in trouble,’ and I said, ‘This is strange for me too. This is not my son, which is why we’re here.”

“That could’ve been a conversation for another time,” she added. “But not during the time my son was in distress.”

The teen’s teammates at his high school were in shock about Tyler’s death and have dedicated the season to their fallen teammate, whom they called “The Gentle Giant.” His coach, Johnny White, said that he gave his team the option of delaying practice upon hearing the news, but they all wanted to play for Fairley.

“They have a new motivation for the season,” said Coach Johnny White. “I have a new purpose to coach. Everybody is taking it hard, but they wanted to be at practice and dedicate the season to Tyler.”

Principal Kenja Parks also released a statement sending condolences to Fairley’s family.

“The Douglas County High School family offers our deepest sympathies to the family of Tyler Fairley,” she said. “Tyler was a shining light in our Tiger community. He will always be remembered for his gentle spirit, his grace, his willingness to lend a helping hand, his academic excellence, and his athletic prowess. He was a model son, brother, scholar-athlete, and simply a joy to all who knew him.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine can prevent people from becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. At least 164 million people have been fully vaccinated in the United States.

However, the CDC also said that there was a small percentage of breakthrough cases where some people who contracted the disease still became sick or died despite having the vaccine. Data as of August 2 showed that 750 people who were fully vaccinated died from COVID-19, and 3,907 became seriously ill from COVID-19, according to Forbes.

The CDC is determining if the breakthrough cases were from a variant strain. Cases have been rising in the U.S. recently since the restrictions and mask mandates were relaxed. The majority of new cases are from the Delta variant. Nettles said that she wished she’d gotten her son vaccinated.

“I’m not a medical professional, but I do wish I had gotten him vaccinated,” said Nettles.

Niko Mann

Niko Mann is a Freelance Journalist for News Onyx and Sister2Sister. She lives in Los Angeles.

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