COVID-19 vaccine contributes to Sioux Falls man’s death

“They listed myocarditis as the cause, with a contributing factor of the COVID Pfizer vaccine. So we were just in shock,” said Kaylee.
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 10:17 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls family is still coming to terms with the unexpected death of their son, Joseph.

The Keating family said an autopsy was conducted to investigate what happened to their 26-year-old son. The report found the COVID-19 vaccine was one of the contributing factors to Joseph’s death.

On their website, The Centers for Disease Control representatives say that they are monitoring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine more than any other immunization in history. There are some very rare but concerning side effects.

Joseph’s parents Bill and Caleen Keating say they are still coming to terms with the fact that they lost their son, who was trying to stay safe in the midst of the pandemic.

“We’re not anti-vaxxers or pro-vaxxers. We just wanted both sides of the story told,” said Bill.

The family shared some insight into the kind of person Joseph was.

“Joseph was the lover of all science. I mean he was so positive of life. You never heard him say, ‘Oh, I have this in my brain.’ You know, he was always so happy,” said Caleen.

Joseph’s family says since birth Joseph had ongoing procedures for a large vein and aneurism in his brain, but he was a fighter. Last October, Joseph received the news that the years of procedures had reversed the aneurysm and large vein.

Before every brain surgery, he had an echocardiogram that showed he had a healthy, strong heart.

“And so we just got the wonderful news that it was gone,” said Caleen.

A few months later Joseph and Caleen went to get their covid booster shots together.

“Of course, we’re going to do the vaccine. We can’t wait you know,” said Caleen.

Joseph’s initial mild reaction was considered normal.

“He was just tired, you know,” said Caleen.

The retired nurse and mom monitored his vitals. The family brought meals and checked in.

“He had no shortness of breath, he had no chest pain, he had no heart flutter,” said Caleen.

When Joseph wasn’t returning text messages five days later, they feared something horrible had happened.

“Drove over to his apartment and we found him passed away in his recliner,” said Caleen.

They called his doctor in New York.

“He said, ‘I’ve been hearing, seeing reports of young men have in myocarditis, which was kind of new to us,’” said Bill. “I’d never even heard that word before.”

An extensive autopsy, conducted at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, provided details. Joseph’s sister Kaylee showed reporter Beth Warden the documents at their kitchen table.

“They listed myocarditis as the cause, with a contributing factor of the COVID Pfizer vaccine. So we were just in shock,” said Kaylee.

The National Institutes of Health continue to study the details of Joseph’s death. Clinical Investigator Stephen Hewitt provided a statement: “At this time, we have no comment. The case is currently under review.”

The family wanted to tell others and, “You know, talk to our senators and our Governor and nobody wanted to touch it,” said Bill.

Joseph had always wanted to donate his body to science someday.

“He wanted to be the cadaver on everybody’s table, you know, so it’s sad that he wasn’t able to do that dream because they needed to do this total Autopsy,” said Caleen. “So now he donated his heart to science.”

“Hopefully some good can be coming from it,” said Bill.

Reporter Beth Warden looked at Caleen wiping away the tears and added her observation, “You found a silver lining in all that pain.”

“In all that pain, yes,” said Caleen.

Information from the CDC

As of this month, the CDC says over 550 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. The CDC provides details about coronavirus vaccines and safety.

According to their website, “Cases of myocarditis reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)external icon have occurred.” Statistics on their website say around 2,000 people have developed myocarditis in relation to the mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).

Authorities say male adolescents and young adults are more likely to suffer myocarditis after the second dose and within a week of getting the vaccine. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart.

Health officials say most patients with myocarditis or pericarditis who received care responded well to medicine and rest and felt better quickly.

The South Dakota Department of Health Epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton has released a statement regarding this story, saying:

“Myocarditis is a rare condition that causes inflammation of the heart. Myocarditis is not unique to COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccination and can result from many infectious and non-infectious causes. CDC has indicated there is an increased risk of myocarditis as a side effect following the receipt of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine compared to the background rate of myocarditis. The risk is increased for adolescents and young adults, males, and persons receiving their second COVID-19 vaccine dose. Despite the increased occurrence, diagnoses of myocarditis are still rare for the general public or among COVID-19 vaccinated persons. As an outcome, myocarditis often requires hospitalization but is not likely to result in death.”

South Dakota Department of Health Epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton

Sanford Health also provided a statement:

“Our condolences go out to the Keating family for the loss of their son. He played a special role as a Children’s Miracle Network Champion for many years. Due to privacy laws, Sanford Health is not able to comment on specific patient cases. Myocarditis is a known complication of COVID-19. Myocarditis can also be a very rare side effect from COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine is still the best defense against COVID-19, specifically severe illness, hospitalization, and death. If patients have any questions related to the vaccine, we encourage them to talk with their health care provider.” – Dr. Mike Wilde, vice president, medical offer at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls

Sanford Health

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