UTHSC and Regional One team up to help ‘long haulers’ with symptoms long after surviving COVID-19

UTHSC, Regional One offer post COIVD-19 clinic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is partnering with Regional One Health to offer a post-COVID-19 clinic to help people suffering with sometimes debilitating symptoms weeks and even months after their COVID-19 diagnosis.

People who are dealing with fatigue, loss of taste or smell and headaches for sometimes months after battling COVID-19 are called “long haulers.”

A new, unique health clinic in Memphis has been set up to help.

COVID-19 has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and put many more in the hospital.

Some people, like Memphian Tim Green, are discovering weeks and even months after recovering, they’re still dealing with side effects and symptoms.

“I just take it day by day,” said Green.

Mid-South man recalls his experience after battling COVID-19

Green spent four days in the ICU with COVID-19 in March. He says to this day he will still have experience extreme fatigue and horrible headaches.

“It was really scary in the beginning but then it’s kind of like I couldn’t let it stop my life,” said Green.

“We’re in a really new uncharted territory with COVID-19,” Dr. Nicholas Verne, Chair Department of Medicine UTHSC

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, an estimated 10% of COVID-19 patients become what is being called a “long hauler.”

Long hauler symptoms include: Severe fatigue, loss of taste or smell, body aches, brain fogginess
, shortness of breath and more.

UTHSC has teamed up with Regional One, opening a post-COVID-19 clinic to the public at the hospital in October.

“It’s important that we follow them and give them reassurance, the other thing is pretty much symptomatic treatment,” said Dr. Verne.

“We’re hoping most of this is just time,” said Dr. Cyrilyn Walters, Medical Director for Ambulatory Services at Regional One Health
.

Walters leads the clinic that treats 25 patients per week and is getting increasingly busier.

Walters says there’s no cure or medication for long hauler symptoms. Doctors in the clinic monitor and treat patient symptoms as best they can as well as provide some comfort.

“Even just reassurance that I’m not crazy. These things weren’t happening before I got COVID and they are now,” said Walters
.

“I’m glad that they have a spade where people can go and actually get some hell and talk about what they’re going through,” said Green.

Verne says they’re already receiving calls from across the country asking about setting up a post-COVID-19 clinic.

He expects clinics like this will become much more common.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has set up a clinic of their own as well as a support group to post-COVID-19 patients.

To schedule an appointment via telemedicine or in-person at the UTHSC-Regional One post-COVID-19 clinic, call 901-545-6969.

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