Patients struggle with long-term complications from COVID-19


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As more people recover from the coronavirus, infectious disease doctors see a trend, they fear, will haunt health care systems for years.

“This infection not only can cause mortality, but it can also cause disability. That’s important for people to know,” said Dr. David Aronoff, Infectious Disease Specialist at the Vanderbilt Infectious Disease Clinic.

Disabilities, Dr. Aronoff explained, that will require life-long attention.

“They may not get back to the normal way they were before,” said Dr. Arnoff.

Medical professionals from around the world now study the health of recovered COVID-19 patients.
There’s mounting evidence to suggest the virus causes more harm for some.

“One of the things that we’re learning now that we’re following people who have recovered is that some of them have longer-lasting effects [for example] difficulty breathing, permanent lung damage, and we’re learning more about confusion and disturbed thinking,” said William Schaffner, an infectious disease doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Hospitalized patients, especially those placed on ventilators, often require extensive physical therapy to regain muscle loss. And, there’s another disturbing trend.

“We’ve seen patients develop strokes, for example, and permanent neurological damage as a response of COVID-19,” said Dr. Aronoff.

To those who choose not to wear masks and ignore social distancing, Cody Hamilton, a COVID-19 ICU nurse at VUMC wishes they could see what he sees daily.

“If you could really just be a fly on the wall in that unit,” said Hamilton, “I really think it would change people’s minds.”

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