A California man who spent 64 days in hospital and lost nearly all of his fingers due to coronavirus has urged people to take it seriously.
Gregg Garfield was dubbed ‘patient zero’ in a California hospital after catching the virus in February, becoming one of the first COVID-19 cases in the state.
The 54-year-old was diagnosed after a ski trip with his friends to the Italian Alps, and while all 13 people in the group tested positive, Gregg was the most severely affected, with doctors giving him just a 1% chance of survival.
You can see more of Gregg’s story below:
Gregg was admitted to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, where he spent nearly half of his stay on a ventilator. Throughout the 64 days, Gregg experienced sepsis, kidney failure, liver failure, pulmonary embolisms and burst lungs, all as a result of coronavirus.
He also racked up a $2 million hospital bill, though thankfully that was covered by insurance.
Gregg managed to pull through, and he was finally able to leave hospital in early May, when he was met with cheering crowds as he made his way out of the building.
Looking back on the experience nearly three months later, Gregg told Inside Edition he’s ‘doing fantastic’, but noted that coronavirus has had a permanent effect on his life.
Take heed on this. My hands are never going to be the same. I don’t have fingers anymore.
I’m here to tell ya: This could happen to you. And there’s no rhyme or reason behind it.
Gregg had to have all of the fingers on his right hand, as well as most of those on his left, amputated, and he held his bandaged fists in the air as he encouraged people not to take the virus lightly.
His girlfriend, A.J. Johnson, pointed out that wearing protective face masks is an issue of safety; not one of politics.
Speaking to KTLA News, as People reports, she commented:
It should not be political. We need to come together as humans.
Gregg is set to undergo at least six surgeries to reconstruct his fingers, and will likely get a prosthetic to fit over his right hand. His prosthetic is not covered by insurance, so his brother has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Gregg’s medical expenses.
The page explains:
Until now we have focused our communications on Gregg living and surviving this deadly virus and did not share the severity of injury to his hands and toes. The sustained lack of circulation to his extremities caused his fingers and toes to turn black, similar to a frostbite injury.
This caused permanent damage and…. he will be looking at additional surgeries for amputation, prostheses and of course more physical/occupational therapy as he learns to navigate this new world.
The fundraiser was created in April and has raised more than $200,000, exceeding its goal of $50,000.
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