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'It can happen to you': California resident lost his fingers due to COVID-19

A COVID-19 survivor from Burbank, California who spent 64 days in hospital lost most of his fingers, writes KTLA.

Photo: Shutterstock

The man, who spent two months at a Burbank hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19, shared his story as a warning to others to take the virus seriously after suffering serious complications, including amputation of most of his fingers.

Gregg Garfield and a dozen of his friends contracted the novel coronavirus during a ski trip to Italy in February, before the pandemic spread widely in the United States.

Garfield's case turned out to be the worst of his group, and he was admitted to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, becoming the first COVID-19 patient there. Within 48 hours of his admission to the hospital, Garfield's condition worsened significantly and he was placed on a ventilator.

The doctors gave him a 1% chance of survival.

“Medically speaking, I shouldn't be here,” Garfield said.

Photo: video frame ktla.com

He noted the long list of complications he suffered from a respiratory illness: "from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, sepsis, kidney failure, liver failure, pulmonary embolism, lung rupture, all at once."

Garfield spent a total of 64 days in the hospital, including 31 days on a ventilator. According to Dr. Daniel Dea, the mortality rate of patients with COVID-19 placed on mechanical ventilation is at least 70%.

But Garfield survived and was discharged from the hospital. On May 8, the day Garfield returned home, Deah said his near-complete recovery was "amazing."

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Garfield faced lifelong consequences of the disease: his fingers were amputated on both hands.

“I survived it. I'm doing fantastic. However, pay attention to this. My hands will never be the same, ”he said, raising his bandaged hands. I have no more fingers. It can happen to you. ”

Garfield had all the fingers of his right hand amputated and most of the fingers of his left.

Photo: video frame ktla.com

His surgeon, Dr. David Culber of the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said the amputations are the result of the virus affecting patients' bloodstream.

“COVID affects endovascular blood flow, so it actually affects blood flow,” said Kalber. "This is why some young people have suffered strokes, and this is why anticoagulation - which forces patients to thin their blood - is now the standard treatment for COVID patients."

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Garfield's finger repair process will involve at least six surgeries. According to Culber, surgeons will have to create prostheses for his fingers, helping them to function "like a bionic hand."

The medical costs for these procedures will exceed the $ 2 million hospital bill for a two-month stay, although most of that amount was covered by insurance. The insurance does not cover his further prosthetics.

Photo: video frame ktla.com

Created almost three months ago, the GoFundMe account has raised over $ 200 to help Garfield cover medical expenses.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Southern California and the US, Garfield and his girlfriend AJ Johnson urge people to take the virus seriously and wear masks.

“It shouldn't be about politics,” Johnson said. "We must unite as people."

In the U.S. coronavirus Special Projects COVID-19

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