Emergency medicine physician Grant Lashley, MD, is among the many healthcare professionals who contracted COVID-19 while treating patients during the United States’ first wave of virus cases in April 2020. While working the night shift in the emergency department at Abbeville General Hospital in Louisiana, he diagnosed one patient with COVID-19 and intubated another. A few days later, the 50-year-old noticed mild symptoms.

Twenty-four hours after testing positive for the coronavirus, he was admitted to the COVID-19 Unit at Lafayette General Medical Center. After another 24 hours, he was transferred to the ICU and intubated, according to his wife Melisa Harrington, MD, a nephrology specialist in Lafayette. Dr. Lashley has almost no memory of his time in intensive care, where he remained intubated for 37 days.

His care team talked with his wife about removing her husband from life support. “She said no, and she and my critical care specialists decided to try a high dose of steroids, which became the standard of care for severe COVID-19 cases about a month later. I think that’s what turned me around,” Dr. Lashley says.

When he regained consciousness, he didn’t realize he had lost more than a month of life. He also had generalized weakness after being immobilized on a ventilator for 37 days. He had lost nearly 40 pounds, almost half of which was muscle mass.

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