COVID-19 survivor has fingers amputated: “This can happen to you.”
Gregg Garfield, who spent two months in a Burbank hospital while suffering from COVID-19, shares his story to warn others to take the virus seriously.
- Garfield contracted the virus on a ski trip in Italy in February, and was hospitalized at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, requiring a ventilator within 48 hours of arrival.
- Doctors gave him a 1% chance of survival: “Medically speaking, I should not be here,” Garfield said.
- Garfield suffered severe complications, including MRSA, sepsis, kidney failure, liver failure, pulmonary embolisms, and burst lungs, which required 31 days on a ventilator.
- For COVID-19 patients on ventilators, the mortality rate is at least 70%, according to Dr. Daniel Dea at Providence St. Joseph. Garfield’s recovery was “amazing.”
- The symptoms led to the amputation of most of his fingers on both hands, because of how the virus impacts patients’ blood flow. “I don’t have fingers anymore. This can happen to you.”
- Dr. David Kulber of Cedars Sinai Medical Center said, “COVID has effects on the endovascular blood stream, so it actually affects the blood flow. 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.”
- Surgeons will create prosthetics for his fingers to function “like a bionic hand,” said Dr. Kulber. Those procedures add to the $2 million hospital bill for Garfield’s two months in the hospital.
- Garfield’s girlfriend, A.J. Johnson, said that taking the virus seriously and wearing masks “should not be political. We need to come together as humans.”