Doctor: Many COVID-19 patients face long-term health challenges

A person in a car gets tested.
Mitch Trembreull gets tested for the coronavirus in a drive-thru setting at the People's Center Clinics & Services in Minneapolis on April 27.
Richard Tsong-Taatarii | Star Tribune via AP file

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we're learning more about what it means to survive the disease. For many patients who fall seriously ill, the virus' impact does not end upon discharge from the hospital. Some are struggling with a host of residual symptoms and challenges.

Dr. Farha Ikramuddin, chief of rehabilitation services at M Health Fairview, has been leading a team focused on helping COVID-19 patients recover.

“As we started admitting these patients, it became very clear that they would not be your normal, say, pneumonia patient or appendectomy patient and discharged home,” she told MPR News host Cathy Wurzer.

Even two to three months after leaving the hospital, Ikramuddin said, many patients who were seriously ill have only recovered a fraction of their former strength. Some suffer from daunting neurological challenges as well.

“What will this lead to? How many of them will recover completely, and how many of them will continue to have impairment? We do not know,” she said. “The amount of inflammatory response that [the virus] creates that causes significant damage in various organs of our body is unprecedented.”

Click on the player above to hear the full interview.

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