“PATIENT zero” in Los Angeles managed to win his battle against coronavirus but he lost nearly all of his fingers.
Gregg Garfield, 54, from California lost all his right fingers and the majority of his left digits after COVID-19 put him on a ventilator for 31 days.
Garfield got infected during a skiing trip to Northern Italy in February and now faces multiple surgeries to help his hands.
The recovering COVID survivor, who was discharged from hospital last Friday, warned others that they could meet the same fate.
“I’ve survived this. I’m doing fantastic,” the dad told KTLA. “However, take heed on this.
“My hands are never going to be the same. I don’t have fingers anymore. This can happen to you.”
Garfield, dubbed “patient zero,” was the first person diagnosed at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
His illness was also one of the first recorded diagnoses in the state of California.
Garfield’s sister Stephanie Garfield Bruno described the horrific experience on a GoFundMe account she set up to raise $200,000 for Garfield’s finger prosthetics.
“His body became septic; his kidneys failed and he was put on CRRT dialysis; his blood pressure plummeted and he needed medications to divert his blood-flow to his major organs for survival, leaving his hands and feet starving for circulation,” she wrote.
“He spiked fevers and was covered in ice; his lungs collapsed 4 times and chest tubes were inserted; and he developed secondary infections that are common in hospital environments.
“He had a 1 [percent]chance of surviving. The doctors and nursing staff had to always remain 3 steps ahead of any potential disasters because to enter his room took about 15 minutes for them to gear up in their hazmat attire.”
Surgeon Doctor David Kulber said Garfield lost his fingers due to blood-flow issues triggered by the deadly bug.
“COVID has effects on the endovascular blood stream, so it actually affects the blood flow,” Kulber said.
“That’s why some young people have had strokes, and that’s why anticoagulation — putting patients on blood thinners — now has been a standard cure for COVID patients.”
Thankfully, medics now have a better handle on the virus versus when he was diagnosed.
They use blood thinning medications to stop strokes and other blood-related illnesses.
These coronavirus-related ailments Garfield experienced.
Garfield received a one percent chance of survival before he managed to successfully battle coronavirus.
“Medically speaking, I should not be here,” he said. “I’m here today just to stand tall.
“I turned around with 100 percent capacity on everything from my kidneys, my liver, my cognitive.”