Dr. Yochai Re’em (pictured), a third-year psychiatrist living at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, contracted mild fever and leg pain on March 14 and was quickly diagnosed with coronavirus
A New York doctor said he still experiences symptoms of the coronavirus more than 100 days after he first contracted the disease.
Dr. Yochai Re’em, a third-year psychiatrist who lived at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine, started feeling sick on March 14.
After a few days of mild fever, a loss of appetite and leg pain, he was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Now, four months later, the doctor is still experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain and nausea, ‘continuous discomfort’ in his leg, and abnormal liver function.
Re’em prescribes in an opinion STAT News that he felt hopeless and some days he believes he will never get rid of the signs of illness that killed more than 131,000 Americans.
Early in his illness, Re’em said he didn’t want to visit the emergency room or the emergency room because he didn’t want to overwhelm clinicians.
Ultimately, he visited the emergency room after a day of severe nausea and abdominal pain, he wrote in STAT News.
“Routine tests showed that the level of liver enzymes in my blood was higher than it should have been, but not much more, and I was sent home,” said Re’em.
After the 14-day isolation period was over, Re’em (photo) said he still felt abdominal pain, nausea, leg discomfort, and high enzymes in the liver
When day 14 came, Re’em still had no respiratory symptoms, but the symptoms he did did not disappear, and no doctor’s recommendations seemed to relieve them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that symptoms usually appear between two and 14 days after transmission.
People with mild cases usually recover within one to two weeks, while those with severe cases can take six weeks or more to recover.
As more newscasts began reporting patients with symptoms that would not go away, Re’em began to feel less of an outcast, but still guilty.
“At the same time, the background was blamed for not being able to help my colleagues in a time of crisis,” he wrote in STAT News.
In the end, Re’em decided to join an online support group for people with long-term symptoms of the virus.
Some members discussed low fever that would not go away, while others described fatigue so debilitating that they could not walk around the block.
Re’em says a few even had neurological symptoms, including memory loss.
“I felt a strong sense of being part of a larger community as I read through reports from others who went through the same things as me, sometimes even with the same emotional response,” he wrote in STAT NEWS.
Experts aren’t exactly sure why some coronavirus patients experience symptoms for a long time, but there are some theories.
One theory is that the virus reactivates in patients’ bodies, which occurs with a few other diseases such as herpes.
Some infectious disease experts believe that long-term symptoms may be a persistent immune response to the infection.
Another theory is that people experience symptoms from damaged organs that have not yet repaired themselves – but none of these have been proven.
Re’em wrote in his STAT News column that he hopes he can support others who may also have persistent symptoms.
“I write with the hope that even another patient struggling with long-term Covid-19 symptoms may not feel so alone,” he said.
“I’m writing with the hope that another doctor, friend, family member, or supervisor will see this article and realize the importance of support, as there is currently a lack of treatment options.”