- A man spent 64 days at a California hospital where he suffered major complications from the novel coronavirus and underwent amputation, the local outlet KTLA reported.
- Gregg Garfield became the first known coronavirus patient to be treated at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, after contracting the virus in February.
- When he was released from the hospital in May, he’d left without any fingers on his right hand, and most were gone on his left.
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A man spent 64 days in a California hospital sickened by the novel coronavirus, suffering major complications and undergoing amputations.
Gregg Garfield was treated at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, after he caught the virus during a ski trip in Italy in February, the local outlet KTLA reported. He was the first patient to be treated for COVID-19 at that hospital, according to the report.
Garfield’s symptoms quickly worsened, and he was placed on a ventilator for about a month, the report said. Doctors gave him a 1% chance to live, according to KTLA.
Garfield told the outlet he suffered complications from the virus including MRSA, sepsis, kidney failure, liver failure, a pulmonary embolism, and burst lungs. All the fingers on his right hand, and most on his left, were amputated.
Garfield, who was released from the hospital and returned home May 8, said his hands were “never going to be the same,” KTLA reported.
“I don’t have fingers anymore,” he added. “This can happen to you.”
Dr. David Kulber of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles told KTLA that Garfield’s fingers were amputated because of the way the virus affects patients’ blood flow.
“COVID has effects on the endovascular blood stream, so it actually affects the blood flow,” Kulber told the outlet. “That’s why some young people have had strokes, and that’s why anticoagulation — putting patients on blood thinners — now has been a standard care for COVID patients.”
Health officials have identified excessive blood clotting as a major symptom of coronavirus infections. As Business Insider’s Holly Secon reported, blood-vessel-related complications have manifested in coronavirus patients’ legs, lungs, hearts, brains, and skin. While doctors still aren’t sure how or why the virus triggers excessive clotting, they’re looking to treat these ailments with blood thinners and clot-busting drugs.
Kulber told KTLA that surgeons were creating prosthetics for his fingers that would function “like a bionic hand.” The report says the process will require at least six operations.
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